The 11 Most Beautiful Scenic Train Routes in India to Travel
The Indian Railways are the fourth largest railway network in the world. For most of the population, taking any other form of transport is not even an option. However, there are some trains that go beyond functionality, with routes that are destinations in themselves. Take a look at where you should be going.
- 1 1. THE KASHMIR VALLEY RAILWAY
- 2 2. TRIP THROUGH COASTAL KERALA
- 3 3. TAKING IN ASSAM
- 4 4. BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF EASTERN GHATS
- 5 5. SUPER SHIMLA
- 6 6. RIDE A GOLDEN CHARIOT
- 7 7. GET ON THE KANGRA VALLEY RAILWAY
- 8 8. HEAD TO MATHERAN
- 9 9. OCEAN VIEWS
- 10 10. CATCH SOME PASTORAL VIEWS
- 11 11. DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY
1. THE KASHMIR VALLEY RAILWAY
The route: Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla
There are several reasons to visit the Kashmir valley, this scenic route is definitely one. You will go through several tunnels, get a panoramic view from bridges crossing over the Himalayas and see high altitude natural beauty.
Quick tip: Book yourself in an air-conditioned coach since they have the widest windows for the best views!
Best time to go: The line is often prone to delays during flood season. Go during March-May. The snow hasn’t melted completely yet but the valley and the passes are filled with blossoming flowers.
2. TRIP THROUGH COASTAL KERALA
The route: Ernakulam-Kollam-Trivandrum
The reason this train ride is on our list is because it winds past the Arabian Sea, gently touching the coastline in Kerala. As you can imagine, you will not only see the paddy fields synonymous with the state, there’s also the backwaters to catch a glimpse of.
Quick tip: It takes close to five hours to get through the journey and it could be spotted with delays, so make sure your schedule is free enough to enjoy it rather than rush from point to point.
Best time to go: June-August. This is not popular tourist season but the natural beauty is at its peak at this time of year, with verdant fields that stretch for miles and tea and paddy plantations in their best form.
3. TAKING IN ASSAM
The route: Guwahati-Lumding-Silchar
While Assam is generally a great place to visit, the approach to several places in the state are equally thrilling. One such journey is the one from Guwahati to Silchar that passes through Lumding. You can catch glimpses of the river valleys, see the tea estates up close and go through some pretty great passes.
Quick tip: It can be a dangerous journey, so we suggest taking safety precautions and not travelling alone.
Best time to go: April-June when the weather is at its best and you can see natural beauty clearly.
4. BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF EASTERN GHATS
The route: Bhubaneswar – Brahmapur
Not only are trains on this route extremely comfortable, they have the most breathtaking views. You can actually catch a glimpse of the Chilika Lake like you’ve never seen it before. The Orissa bound train also has great views of the Eastern Ghats.
Quick tip: If you carry binoculars, you may be able to catch a glimpse of some migratory birds too! Travel early morning for a spectacular sunrise.
Best time to go: October to June is the best time to visit since this is the best time to see the lake.
5. SUPER SHIMLA
The route: Kalka-Shimla
Have you ever imagined travelling through the country on a toy train? This is one of the most famous journeys on our list and for good reason, since the route in itself is a heritage site! The toy train, called the Himalayan Queen, is an absolute MUST. Forget the hills and valleys, you will glimpse oak forests and rivulets, after passing through over a hundred (yes!) tunnels.
Quick tip: Sit on the right side on a journey towards Shimla for the best views.
Best time to go: December-January for gorgeous winter views. However, book in advance.
6. RIDE A GOLDEN CHARIOT
The route: Bangalore-Kabini-Mysore-Hassan-Hampi-Badami-Goa
This is one of the longest train journeys you will take, but it’s well worth the days spent on board. As the name of the train suggests (Golden Chariot!) you will not only be privy to luxury inside the train, you will also see it outside. Pass by the Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary, see the ruins at Hampi and the gorgeous landscape!
Quick tip: The point of this train is connecting tourist spots, so get the most of them!
Best time to go: November-April for the best views.
7. GET ON THE KANGRA VALLEY RAILWAY
The route: Pathankot – Jogindar
From valleys to rivers, this journey from Punjab to Himachal Pradesh has a view to reckon with. One of the best ways to experience it is to look out when it’s passing through the Dhauladhar hills, which are some of the most beautiful in the area.
Quick tip: The train is slow, so make sure you’re not prone to motion sickness!
Best time to go: September-June, when it’s relatively good weather and the greenery, is at its peak.
8. HEAD TO MATHERAN
The route: Neral – Matheran
The Matheran Hill Railway may not be the first thing you think of, especially since the approximately two hour journey is also pretty short. However, it’s gorgeous and if you don’t have the luxury of time – one of the best train journeys to take! Witness the green mountains in tandem with dense forests as you head through on the toy train.
Quick tip: Book in advance, you’re likely to face a lot of rush all through the year.
Best time to go: Anytime
9. OCEAN VIEWS
The route: Mandapam to Rameswaram
With no halts in between, you can sit back and enjoy the short journey without any interruptions – and once you see the view, you will see why this is such an amazing idea. This journey not only crosses the second largest sea bridge in India, it also gives you the most breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean in the country.
Quick tip: Watch out for the Pamban Island as you cross the bridge into the Gulf of Mannar.
Best time to go: October-April when the sun’s rays hit the azure hues of the ocean at a spectacular angle.
10. CATCH SOME PASTORAL VIEWS
The route: Jaipur-Jaisalmer
Love rural life and want to see more than just mountains? This is the perfect trip. Apart from seeing deserts, you can also see mud huts and animals grazing (camels in particular) giving you a glimpse into the rural life.
Quick tip: Getting a night train is an experience, but get on one that quickly transgresses to early morning so you can catch the best views.
Best time to go: November-February to catch some winter scenes.
11. DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY
The route: New Jalpaiguri-Silguri-Sukna-Rangtong-Tindharia-Gayabari-Mahandi-Kurseong-Tung-Sonada-Ghoom-Darjeeling.
Here’s another Toy Train experience you need to experience. Take the route to get spectacular views –it’s a pretty extensive one. While a lot of the trip is just scenery, one of the reasons it comes so highly recommended is the gorgeous view of Kanchenjunga.
Quick tip: Try to map the weather and pick a clear day to get the best views.
Best time to go: March-April. Skies are clear but you can still see snow-clad mountains.