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Saturday, February 10, 2018

10 Insanely Gorgeous Train Journeys of India that will make you want to book your tickets right away

Top Train Trips of India

There is no better way to explore and experience the diversity, culture and charm of India than through its exemplary train network. The train journeys of India are so romantic that people from all over the world find themselves attracted to it and we know how much it has been immortalized in Indian movies and deeply entrenched in all our childhood memories. From toy trains and narrow gauges to mountain railways and plying under waterfalls, from deserts to thickly vegetated evergreen forests and from the most affordable rides to the most opulent, train journeys in India spread the length and breadth of the country to provide an enthralling experience like no other.

But before you pack your bags, make sure your term insurance is current and up-to-date. Reason? According to an IndiaSpend analysis, the death toll from train derailments in 2016-17 is now the highest it has been in a decade in India. This means an unforeseen event can strike you anywhere, and leave your family high and dry. That’s why, getting a term insurance is the first step towards creating a safe and secure future for your loved ones.

By investing in a term insurance plan today, you are securing your family’s tomorrow. Plus, term plans offer affordable premiums for high life cover. This way you are preparing for life’s contingencies without disturbing your existing financial or travel goals.

To find out more about how much premium you need to pay, look up the premium calculators. And then let your hair loose and enjoy these gorgeous train journeys without an iota of worry in your head.

1) India’s Longest Train Journey - Vivek Express (Kanyakumari to Dibrugarh)

Vivek Express - India's longest train journey

A journey of epic proportions, this Vivek Express train trip is for the serious train travel lover. 4,233 kms, 4 nights, 5 days, 8 states and about 90 hours takes you from the southern tip of the Indian sub continent to the tea estates in the far north eastern part of India and close to the Myanmar border. One of the special train trips in the world in terms of experience, length and duration, this train journey shows you the incredible beauty of India in fast forward mode. Be it the green paddy fields and coconut plantations of Kerala, the dense elephant forests of Alipur Duar, the tea estates of Assam, the mighty Godavari bridge of Andhra Pradesh or the lush Indian countryside of the North East, Vivek express lets you see it all in just one quick trip.

2) Luxury on Wheels - Golden Chariot

Golden Chariot - one of the top luxurious train journeys of India

Old world romantic charm, regal luxury, sumptuous food, great service, gorgeous destinations and a train trip is what I call a mind blowing holiday. India offers three luxury trains that provide such a holiday – The Maharaja Express, The Golden Chariot and the Deccan Odyssey. Of these, my personal favorite is the Golden Chariot, the train trip that gives you that amazing vacation in South India, its temples and history, its forests and wildlife and its churches and beaches. If you have the money and yearn for a trip of a lifetime in India, this luxury on wheels has to be one of the top picks.

3) The Green Route - Hassan to Mangalore

The green route from Hassan to Mangalore

One of my favorite train routes in India, this train trip gives you a sneak peak into the rich beauty of the Western Ghats. With about 54 tunnels, some 70 odd bridges and 100 plus waterfalls, this train trip meanders its way through some of the lushest terrain of Karnataka, especially its evergreen forests and tropical rainforests. This rail route was closed for a very long while and that allowed me to experience it during a weekend trek from Bangalore, which is how I got to know about it in the first place. In the last few years, this rail route has been modernized and upgraded to a broad gauge and many trains ply this route daily. Opt for a train that crosses the Hassan –> Sakleshpur –> Kukke Subramanya stretch in day time.

4) The Monsoon Special - Konkan Railways

Whether you are going from Mumbai to Goa or from Ratnagiri to Mangalore via Madgaon and Honavar, the Konkan Railways will wow you with the green effect. Traversing the Western Ghats and more specially the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the trains that ply this route criss cross mountains and forests while intermittently providing you stunning views of the Konkan coastline, the Arabian Sea and the surrounding greenery. And during the monsoon season, not only is this route covered in fresh resplendent green, but it is covered in waterfalls and misty clouds giving you a surreal experience.

5) Nilgiri Mountain Railway – Mettupalayam to Coonoor and Ooty

The Nilgiri toy train ride

2018 is the year of the Nilgiri mountains as the Neela Kurinji, the flower that gives the mountains its name is going to bloom this year. This flower that blooms once in 12 years will envelop this entire region in blue. Hence, the Nilgiri toy train from Mettupalayam to Ooty is bound to be doubly special as not only do you experience its colonial charm, steep incline, laidback villages and mountain views, but also the view of the rare Neela Kurinji flower that will be blooming all over the various mountain ranges.

6) Himalayan Queen - Kalka to Shimla

Kalka Shimla Railway in Winter

A UNESCO world heritage site and one of the more scenic rail journeys of India, the journey from Kalka to Shimla takes you on a narrow gauge for 96 kms while you cross 102 tunnels, 82 bridges and deodar, pine and oak forests. Lovely all through the year, I think the views are best during the winter months when snow covers all the valleys and meadows and may be spring when the first shade of green sneaks out.

7) Darjeeling Mountain Railway Toy Train

The Darjeeling mountain railway toy train chugging its way to Ghum

Toy trains have that unique quality that it becomes endearing to people of all ages. The Darjeeling Mountain railway toy train is one such example. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this journey takes you from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling via Ghum, one of India’s highest railway stations as you slowly chug along mountain highways, rhododendron forests, pine forests, Buddhist monasteries, tea estates and deep into the Eastern Himalayas of India. In a couple of hours, you are literally transported from regular Indian chaos to a mountain paradise and all this while you are sitting inside of a heritage train with a steam locomotive.

8) Green Villages, Forests and the Dudhsagar Waterfall – Hubli to Madgaon or Londa to Vasco Da Gama

Dudhsagar Falls, Goa

Do you remember the scene from the movie Chennai Express when the train Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone are traveling in stops under a waterfall? This is Goa’s Dudhsagar Waterfall and it is an absolute treat to watch during and right after the monsoons. You can stand under this multi-tiered sea of milk when you travel from Hubli to Madgaon or more specifically from Londa to Vasco da Gama. This train journey will take you through the lush green forests of Goa and Karnataka, the laidback Goan villages and the highlight of the journey, the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, which is located right in the heart of the Mollem National Park in Goa.

9) Desert Queen – Jodhpur to Jaisalmer

The desert beauty of Rajasthan

It is not often during a train journey that you get to experience sand being blown into your train compartment. Not just into your hair, but also on to your luggage, seats and basically everywhere. Covering vast stretches of the Great Indian Thar desert, the train journey from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer takes you tantalizingly close to sand dunes, the desert villages of Rajasthan and vast open land. Even though, there is not much to see in terms of views, but I think this desert experience is an added bonus while you explore Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, two of Rajasthan’s gorgeous gems.

10) Over the Sea - Mandapam to Pamban to Rameshwaram

Pamban Railway Bridge Rameshwaram

Considered to be one of the most dangerous train rides of India, this journey from Tamil Nadu mainland to the island of Rameshwaram is special on many counts. First, you are literally traveling on sea here. Secondly, this sea bridge is India’s second longest rail bridge. And third, this bridge opens up at scheduled times to let ships pass through. If that ain’t special, then I don’t know what is. And the icing on the cake is the sea of blue view.

Note: Some pictures in this article are courtesy of wikipedia.org and used under the creative commons license. Each photo has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.



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