5 Most Scenic Train Routes in India

India is a land of diverse landscapes, from the lush green valleys to the towering mountain ranges, and the vast stretches of deserts. Train journeys in India not only offer stunning views but also provide an opportunity to experience the culture, food, and people of the country. Let us look at a few of the most scenic train routes in India.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Popularly referred to as the “Toy Train,” the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a narrow-gauge train route in . It runs 88km connecting the town of Siliguri with the hill station of Darjeeling, passing through several picturesque locations along the way. This train route in India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was built by the British in 1881 to transport tea from the hill stations to the plains. It, today, serves as the most popular tourist attraction of the region. The train ride takes travelers through tea gardens, lush green valleys, and dense forests, winding up serpentine tracks along the hills of Darjeeling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is famous for its vintage steam engine. It travels at a leisurely pace, allowing passengers to enjoy the scenery and take photographs.

One of the highlights of this train route is the Batasia Loop, a spiral loop that allows the train to ascend or descend the hill smoothly. The train stops at the Batasia Loop for a few minutes. On a day of clear weather, passengers are treated to a grand view of the Kanchenjunga range from the Batasia Loop. The train passes through several charming hill towns and villages, such as Kurseong, Sonada and Ghum. The Ghum railway station is located at an altitude of 2,258 meters. It is the highest railway station in India and a popular spot for tourists. The busy streets and vegetable shops along the tracks offer a glimpse into the local way of life. The journey takes 7 to 8 hours to complete but the memories stay for a lifetime.

Kalka-Shimla Railway

The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is another scenic train route in India that takes you through the beautiful hills of Himachal Pradesh. The train route covers a distance of 96 km and takes you through 102 tunnels and over 864 bridges. The journey offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks, verdant valleys, and cascading waterfalls. It passes through several picturesque locations along the way, including lush green valleys, steep hills, and charming villages. The journey takes around 6 hours. It is a unique experience that allows tourists to soak in the beauty of the Himalayas. The Kalka-Shimla Railway was built by the British in 1898. It was used to transport government officials and supplies to the hill station of Shimla.

Today, it serves as the most prominent tourist attraction of the region. Another notable feature of the journey is the charming stations along the way. Each having a unique architectural style and history associated with itself. The Barog station is located at an altitude of 1,430 meters. It is known for its impressive tunnel, which is the longest on the route. The Shimla station is situated at an altitude of 2,075 meters. It is a magnificent example of colonial-era architecture and offers a stunning view of the town.

Konkan Railway

The Konkan Railway runs through the picturesque coastline along the Western Ghats of India. It is one of the most spectacular train routes in India, connecting the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka. The Konkan Railway covers a distance of 760 km. It passes through several picturesque locations along the way, including lush green forests, stunning waterfalls, and charming villages. The journey takes around 12-16 hours and is a unique experience that allows you to soak in the beauty of the Konkan coast. The railway line was built in the 1990s. It was a major engineering feat, as it required the construction of over 2,000 bridges and 90 tunnels, including the famous Panvalnadi Viaduct, which is one of the longest bridges in India. One of the journey's highlights is the stunning views of the Arabian Sea that line the horizon.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, also known as the “Toy Train of the South,” is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This train route offers a scenic trip through the misty hills of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. The narrow-gauge railway line connects Mettupalayam with the popular hill station of Ooty. This train route in India is famous for its stunning scenery, unique engineering, and vintage steam locomotives. The train winds its way up the steep slopes of the Blue Mountains, passing through several tunnels and bridges along the way. The train chugs along at a leisurely pace, allowing passengers to soak in the magnificence of the surrounding hills and forests.

The Coonoor station, located in the heart of the Nilgiri Mountains, is known for its beautiful colonial-era buildings and is a popular spot for photography. The ride covers a distance of 46 km. It offers breathtaking views of tea plantations, dense forests, and cascading waterfalls. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a mesmerizing journey to experience the romance of train travel from a bygone era.

Mandapam–Rameswaram Route

While the most charming train routes in India are often attributed to hills and forests, one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring train routes in India is along the Mandapam–Rameswaram Route. The Pamban Bridge, over the Arabian Sea, is a spectacular feat of engineering. It connects the mainland of Tamil Nadu with the holy island of Rameswaram. Pamban is India's first sea bridge and the ride over it is a thrill like no other. It is a cantilever bridge that was built in 1914 and it spans a length of 2.3 km. It is a conventional bridge resting on concrete piers. But it has a double-leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships pass through.

In 1988, a road bridge was constructed parallel to the rail bridge. This road bridge, called Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge connects NH 49 with the Rameswaram island. It stands on the Palk Strait, between the shores of Mandapam (a place on the Indian mainland) and Pamban (one of the fishing towns on Rameswaram island). The bird's eye view of a train chugging over the rail bridge from this land bridge is a sight to enjoy. The experience from within the train is awesome as well. The sea converges on both sides of the tracks after the train leaves Mandapam station.

The train then slowly chugs onto the Pamban bridge, with waves crashing against the pillars of the bridge. During high tides, the water could come dangerously close to the footrest of the trains. Tourists, however, flock to the gates of the train to watch the turquoise waters of the ocean and the views of islands and fishing boats near the horizon.

Concluding words !!!

The diversity of the Indian landscape is truly remarkable. Indian Railway allows travel enthusiasts to explore this through the various train routes in India. Remember to experience breathtaking vistas and stunning landscapes that make traveling by rail in India an unforgettable experience. It could be a journey that will stay with you for a lifetime.



An honest SCORPIO who is crazy about movies, and overly passionate about travel.
Believes in immortalizing the moment, either by way of the photograph or literal documentation of the journey.

One thought on “5 Most Scenic Train Routes in India

  • March 16, 2023 at 9:28 am

    I have done the first 2


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