Ghum Railway Station

By Katyayini Kesharwani

Located in West Bengal, “Ghum” is India’s highest railway station which is at an altitude of 2,258 metres. It is also counted as the 14th highest railway station of the world.

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Life is like a journey, taken on a train, With a pair of travellers at each windowpane. I may sit beside you all the journey through, Or I may sit elsewhere, never knowing you. But if fate should make me sit by your side, Let’s be pleasant travellers; it’s so short a ride.

The UNESCO accepted Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train that passes from here as a world heritage site. The train makes steep climbs through a number of reverses and loops promising an enthralling view. One of the most heart-stirring being the Batasia Loop between Ghum and Darjeeling.

Construction of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway began in 1879 and the railway track reached Ghum on 4 April 1881. Until 1878, the journey from Kolkata to Darjeeling took a week’s time. When Siliguri was put on the railway map of India the journey time reduced to two days. Thereafter, it became a 3–4 hours journey to Ghum by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

This station is nothing less than a beauty personified! A decade of painstaking hard work that flaunts one of the most exemplified architectures of Indian history. No wonder UNESCO was wowed by it and bestowed it with a heritage status. It is India’s busiest railway station.

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Ghum is a rather small railway station. It lies on one of the most beautiful railway tracks in the world.

The station has an in-house museum that displays some magnificent relics. Situated beside the Ghum Railway Station, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Museum emblazons the history of the iconic Himalayan railways over a period of two centuries. From tickets dating back to 1883, when a trip from Darjeeling to Ghum used to cost only 66 paisa, to the implementation of the steam engine, everything is up for display.
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The Ghum Railway Station oozes an undeniable charm of its own.
The main attraction here is the oldest toy train engine – The Baby Sivok. A baby child is always dear to parents because even in their old age it reminds and reverts them to most cherished childhood memories. It reminds one of the British colonial history.
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It’s more like a cafe or park. People come and sit here for a long time, sometimes chit chat with a cup of coffee. Some come here for the evening walk, children play, run along the tracks. School students return home walking through the tracks, sometimes it’s the meeting place with their loved ones.  In between all of these tourist groups come take photos/ selfies. Fashion shoots going on. Different kind of activities throughout the day. And yes, after long interval of time toy trains come and go but the station has its own life.
The entry fee to the museum is included in the ticket price. Just half-an-hour away from The Elgin, Darjeeling, the Ghum Railway Station is one of India’s busiest railway stations, always filled with laughter and people. DHR sends a certificate validating your ride on the toy train by post so that you can cherish the beautiful memories of your ride.

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