AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Encompassed with vibrant snow-crested mountains, the Himalayan Mountain Railways of India is one of the great blessings by the British, transforming the draining travelling into a remarkable zestful experience. In fact, India claims to have six of the world’s 20 narrow-gauge mountain railways which are still functional. Mountain railways in the Himalayas, are renowned for their invigorating excursions that let you bask in the stunning Himalayan splendour at every turn. So here are the world’s most scenic train rides that would blow your mind with all the mesmerizing turns.
Image by Sreetama Das, Flickr
The experience of the engine whistling while sliding around the spectacular mountains over the lush gardens would impress you enough to crave for a ride anon.
A land of enormous meadows, tea gardens, marvelous Kanchenjunga, lush winding trails with the gorgeous Himalayan Railway- Darjeeling. The narrow-gauge railway, popularly referred as a “toy train”, was started in 1881 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It spans for 78 kilometers between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri. The sights sound and smells that you come across while riding a toy train is unparallel. As you board the Darjeeling Toy train the breath-taking landscape, lush green valleys and sprawling tea estates would force you to stuck over the dynamic view. Do not need to worry about missing out on any as the journey maintains the perfect pace amidst slow and steady, letting you grasp every vibrant green possible. Apart from climbing up along the line of tall trees, picturesque huts, orchids and smell of momos, the tourists can have a snippet of life in the hills and its charm. Those who have experienced this vintage toy train will not prefer the faster ways of transportation up the hill.
The most fascinating aspect of the train is how it traverses steep terrain and abrupt curves with such finesse that you can’t help but wonder at the ingenuity behind this masterpiece.
Gliding through 100 tunnels and hooting amid intervals the Kalka- Shimla Railway would force you for a ride again.
The Kalka-Shimla Railway, that’s been in operation since 1881, was inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2007, along with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. This railway track features over 900 bends, 48 of which are claimed to be the sharpest in the world. As a consequence of Britishers’ love affair with Shimla the track was designed exclusively, when it was known as ‘Mini England’ owing to its climatic conditions that mimicked those of England. The experience on this historic world heritage Kalka Shimla toy train would be a journey to embrace the old-world charm, it’s precisely like sitting in a time machine and travelling back in time. The Kalka-Shimla Railway ride provides an exciting experience through pine and deodar forests as the miniature train glides through many slopes and over 100 tunnels, hooting amid intervals. Even the echoing hooter of the train has an enchanting effect on travelers.
Image by Thomas Kabisch, flickr
The trail would make the experience remarkable as Kangra Valley Railway takes you through the paradise on earth.
Located in the sub-Himalayan region of Kangra Valley, the Kangra Valley Railway ranges a distance of 164 kilometers from Pathankot in Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh. It was founded in 1926 and officially launched in 1929. Distinctive on its own, this line features only two tunnels and instead of the dizzy curves, engineers chose for a straightened trail while avoiding tricky contours. Gaze at the magnificent panorama of snow-clad ranges and the green fields as the train slowly deepens into the spectacular trails to astound you. The staggering Banganga river canyon and the Dee Kangra abyss offers magnificent vistas. As the track approaches Palampur, snowy chain of peaks in the backdrop appears to embrace the beauty further. Beyond then, the train climbs parallel and incredibly closer to the Dhauladhar mountains. It won’t be absurd to claim that Kangra Valley Railway can take you as close to eternal snows as feasible in India.
Is it fascinating enough to lure you away from the hustle and bustle of city life and hop onto a toy train to the mountains? Well, let’s pack the bags and move for an expedition to experience the extraordinary.