There’s no doubt that India is one of the best destinations in the world for lovers of train travel. You can reach nearly every corner of this massive country in great comfort and at a great price. And what a great way to travel – relaxing in your comfortable seat and watching the spectacular beauty of this fascinating place through your own window.
There are so many incredible train journeys you can take in India, so we’ve picked just a few to whet your appetite. But don’t feel restricted to luxury or tourist options. Jump on the Indian Railways website and plan your own train-based adventure. Whether it’s a local commuter trip or a vast continental epic journey, you’ll find that travelling India’s trains opens up a whole new side of India for you to experience.
India offers five scenic mountain railways using tiny toy railways that are just irresistible. These trips are slow going which allows for plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular scenery as you climb mountains and enjoy spectacular natural vistas.
The UNESCO World Heritage listed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the oldest and perhaps best known of the tiny railways, dating back to 1881. Today you can choose from a menu of options ranging from short joy rides to the full day experience from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is also UNESCO World Heritage listed and offers the steepest train trip in Asia, using the rare rack and pinion technology designed to get trains up the very steepest gradients. With 46 kilometres of scenic highlights including many bridges and tunnels as well as untrammelled mountain forests and delightful village train stops, this is a tourist train experience you are likely to love.
The third of our favorite toy train experiences and another UNESCO World Heritage listed railway is the Kalka Shimla Railway. There are lots of options provided for this journey, from an express tourist train experience with big picture windows, to a stopping-all-stations standard passenger train that will let you appreciate the places along the way. Either way, this scenic and mountainous train journey will open your eyes to some of the most spectacular scenery in India.
The Golden Chariot is one of India’s modern luxury trains. The train offers two routes including the Pride of the South and the Southern Splendour. Both options take in natural and cultural highlights of southern India in first class comfort and style. The Golden Chariot has been closed for renovations and is due to reopen early in 2020.
The Palace on Wheels is the northern India equivalent of the Golden Chariot, proving a luxury whistle stop tour of the highlights of Rajasthan. The Palace was the first of India’s modern luxury trains and aimed to replicate the experience of India’s royalty in their colonial era travels.
Our final favorite luxury railway is the Maharaja’s Express. Celebrating ten years operation, this railways offers a range of route and destination options, and bills itself as an opportunity to experience royalty but running on wheels.