Indian Railways is one of the largest and busiest train networks in the world which is best known for connecting people from all over the nation. It is also among the greatest and most affordable ways to travel within the country and take in some amazing vistas. However, due to extended journey times, people nowadays have started to avoid traveling by trains in India.
If you are the one who believes in admiring the vistas gradually, then we have a list of some really beautiful train routes that take you through a variety of wonderfully breathtaking landscapes, including steep mountain slopes, confined valleys, narrow tunnels, and wide seas. I am sure that these beautiful rail routes in India will make you think again about the attractiveness of Indian towns.
Here is the list of beautiful train journeys in India that you might not want to skip
1. Himalayan Queen (Kalka-Shimla)
The Himalayan Queen train connects the Indian cities of Kalka and Shimla, running along the foothills of the Himalayas, and passing through some of the most beautiful landscapes in India. It is the most sought-after train journey in India that everyone wants to enjoy once in their lifetime. The route is full of beautiful sights with ice-covered mountains, tunnels, and pristine forests. The Himalayan Queen is a heritage train in India that started around four decades ago and it is one of the most picturesque train routes in India.
The train passes through 102 dark tunnels built under huge mountains and across some famous Indian towns, including, Barog, Solan, Jutogh, and Taradevi. The 12 hours long journey of the Himalayan Queen is indeed a journey to remember.
Connecting: Kalka and Shimla
Route distance: 97 Km
Journey time: 5 Hours 10 Minutes
Best attraction: Beautiful view of pristine forests and mountain tunnels.
Best time to ride: Jan-Jun, Sep-Dec
2. Jammu-Baramulla line
The gorgeous and captivating Jammu-Baramulla line is yet the most picturesque railway track in India. This line connects Jammu, Udhampur, Srinagar, and Baramulla while passing through a scenic train route and is considered as the most difficult railway construction in the history of Indian Railways. The track is situated in an area with high seismic intensity, tough terrain, and extremely low temperatures. Jammu-Baramulla line comes second in our list of best train routes due to the heavenly scenic views.
Connecting: Jammu and Baramulla
Route distance: 356 km
Journey time: Approx 4 Hours
Best attraction: Exotic view of Chenab Bridge, which is the tallest railway bridge in the world built at the height of 359 m (1,178 ft).
Best time to ride: September to April
3. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (New Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling)
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or DHR is a toy train service owned by Indian Railways. The DHR journey connects New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through a 88 kilometers scenic route. It is the only functioning narrow gauge railway in India. The journey takes around 12 hours depending upon the season and will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in India.
DHR service started in the year 1881 and is listed under the UNESCO World Heritage site for offering the beautiful landscape of the hill station. The Darjeeling Toy Train is capable of traversing some of the most dangerous peaks and passes over some really treacherous cliffs before reaching its terminus. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is known for its breathtaking journeys.
Connecting: New Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling
Route distance: 88 km
Journey time: Approx 7 hours
Best attraction: Simply recline and enjoy the breathtaking aura of the mountains.
Best time to ride: Visit here between October – December to get a clear view.
Ticket price for Steam Engine Toy Train: INR 1300
Ticket price for Diesel Engine Toy Train: INR 800
4. Kangra Valley Railway (Pathankot-Jogindernagar)
The Kangra Valley Railway is another scenic rail route owned by Indian Railways. This railway line was constructed under the supervision of Capt. Ernest Bertram Neave Taylor. The route started operation for the first time in 1929 for passengers. The Kangra Valley Railway route runs along the banks of River Beas, connecting Pathankot in Punjab to Joginder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh. The Kangra Valley Railway takes 5 hours from Pathankot to Kangra and crosses the foothills of the Himalayas with stunning views of the Dhauladhar Mountains. The railway line passes through several famous towns, 993 bridges, 2 tunnels, and 484 steep curves, among which the sharpest curve is 58.33 m. It is not just the route with dangerous altitude, but it is also one of India’s most beautiful railway tracks.
Connecting: Pathankot (Punjab) to Jogindernagar (HP)
Route distance: 164 km
Journey time: 8-9 Hours
Best attraction: Beautiful bridges, tunnels, and steep curves.
Best time to ride: Take this ride in March-May and October-December for the best experience.
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5. Vistadome Coach (Mumbai to Goa)
Vistadome Coaches is a completely new initiative by Indian Railways to promote tourism in the country. The very first vista dome coach was introduced in 2018 on the Jan Shatabdi express on the Mumbai-Madgaon route. Later it evolved as a trend in the railways through which passengers would be able to enjoy the majestic view of western ghats. Presently, there are multiple vista dome train routes in India running to different destinations. These beautiful vista dome coaches are installed with a see-through glass roof, huge windows, 180-degree rotatable seats, and a mini pantry that help passengers to enjoy the view to the fullest.
Connecting: Mumbai to Goa
Route distance: 572 km (355 mi)
Journey time: 8 hours 40 mins
Best attraction: Splendid view of western ghats through the see-through glass roof, and huge windows.
Best time to ride: Take the Vistadome ride during the monsoon season to witness the bountiful creations of the lush greenery across the window.
6. Goa Express (Vasco Da Gama-Londa)
You can only feel satisfied by viewing exquisite Goan villages zoop by your window on the trip from Vasco Da Gama in Goa to Londa in Karnataka. The backdrop shifts to mountains and lush forest as the route climb to the Western Ghats. As the greenery disappears, waterfalls take center stage and you will feel a slight shower of water on your face. All thanks to the rushing power of water.
Connecting: Vasco Da Gama-Londa (Karnataka)
Route distance: 109 km
Journey time: 3 Hour 25 Min
Best attraction: Picturesque landscape with Serene beaches and a wonderful view of the Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
Best time to ride: Monsoon is the best time to take the Vasco Da Gama-Londa train ride as this time passengers will get to enjoy the dazzling red color of the clay soil
7. Nilgiri Mountain Railway ( Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam (Ooty), via Coonoor)
Nilgiri Mountain Railway runs between Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam (Ooty), via Coonoor and is the only rack railway in India. It is an extremely beautiful train route in south India that takes you through lush green hills, numerous tunnels, rocky terrain, ravines, and hundreds of bridges (among which 30 are enormous).
This 26-kilometer journey in Tamil Nadu is one of the most adventurous rail routes in India with fascinating views. The train passes through a tranquil and entrancing route with 16 giant tunnels. The most breathtaking views of Ooty are presented while traveling along this amazing railway line built during the British era.
Connecting: Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam (Ooty), via Coonoor)
Route distance: 46 kilometers (28.5 miles)
Journey time: 5 hours
Best attraction: Hundreds of bridges and tunnels across the route is a major attraction of this journey.
Best time to ride: The Nilgiri Mountain Railway ride is at its most enjoyable during the summer (April-May).
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8. Khasi Hills Railway-Meghalaya
Khasi Hills Railway in Meghalaya is the only rail route in the state that takes you to the Eastern Khasi Hills. Guwahati is the only nearest railway station to Shillong and which is situated 104 km away from the city. This railway station provides excellent access to all cities in India. To board this train, and have a close view of the Khasi hills, tourists have to reach Shillong railway station. It is one of the most beautiful train routes in India to experience scenic beauty.
Connecting: Shillong to East Khasi hills
Route distance: 39 Kms
Journey time: 1 Hour
Best attraction: Prepossessing view of the Khasi Hills in Shillong.
Best time to ride: Visit here in September-May for a comfortable sightseeing experience.
9. Sethu Express (Chennai-Rameswaram)
The Chennai to Rameswaram railway route is the most dangerous railway route in India with a stunning view of valleys and rivers. The ride will inspire you to explore more such holy sites in India through the rail route. According to an old story, Lord Rama constructed the Rameshwaram bridge to save Sita. The feeling of crossing the tiny bridge over the sea on this route is breathtaking. This 2.3 kilometers bridge is also known as “Pawan Bridge’ and it spans across the Indian Ocean.
Connecting: Chennai to Rameswaram
Route distance: 601 km (373 Miles)
Journey time: 10 Hours 30 Minutes
Best attraction: The best view of Pamban bridge
Best time to ride: October to April
10. Island Express (Kanyakumari-Bangalore)
If you are looking for the best train route in India then Island Express would definitely fit in your list as it takes you through all the mesmerizing countryside views. The brief train connects Kanyakumari to Bangalore, passing through delectable sensory delights. There are coconut trees, lakes, traditional Tamil buildings, and much more. I am sure that you will feel like you have reached ‘Malgudi Days’ while taking the train ride. It is undoubtedly the best train journey in India that everyone should have.
Connecting: Kanyakumari to Trivandrum
Route distance: 944 km
Journey time: 19 hours and 15 minutes
Best attractions: Alpine coconut trees, stunning lakes, and a lot of greenery.
Best time to ride: The best time to take this ride is from October to March. During this season, you can stop here to go for sightseeing and take part in beach water sports.
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11. Mandovi Express (Mumbai-Goa)
The Mandovi Express is a part of the Konkan Railway network that connects Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai to Madgaon Junction in Goa. The beautiful rail route that crosses through Sahyadari Gorges on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other is one of the picturesque train routes in India.
The road is lined with beautiful scenery, countless rivers, streams, bridges, meadows, tunnels, cliffs, and the most beautiful view of Western Ghats (Sahyadri). Make sure to grab your camera to capture the favorite moments of one of India’s magnificent and picturesque train excursions.
Connecting: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Madgaon Junction
Route distance: 581 km (361 mi)
Journey time: 11 Hours 50 Min
Best attraction: Beautiful view of Western Ghats (Sahyadri)
Best time to ride: Take this ride from Mid-November to Mid-February to experience the pleasantly cool weather.
12. Matheran Hill Railway
Enjoy a pollution-free journey on board on the Matheran Hill Toy train route. This zigzag route of Matheran Hill Railway connects Matheran to Neral passing through gorgeous landscapes. This slow-moving zig-zag route is undoubtedly one of the best train routes in India for an adventurer. From the rugged terrains of eastern Mumbai to the view of mountains from the Western Ghats, everything on this journey looks prosperous. Matheran Hill Railway is the only heritage train in Maharashtra and is also one of the picturesque train routes in India that everyone should include in the list of India’s best scenic train journeys.
Connecting: Neral to Matheran
Route distance: 21 kilometers (13 miles).
Journey time: 2 Hour 20 Minutes
Best attraction: Gorgeous view of grassy slopes and tree-covered hills.
Best time to ride: Avoid palling the trip in Monsoon as trains remain suspended during monsoon season due to heavy rain.
13. Dooars Voyage (Siliguri-Newmal-Hasimara-Alipurduar)
The Dooars Voyage is the most scenic and incredible train route in Darjeeling that takes you to the hills of North-Eastern India. It is unquestionably the best train route in India because it takes you through plenty of skyscraping pine trees and wildlife refuges. On the way, passengers will also get glimpses of Buxa Tiger Reserve, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary. Travelers might have to deal with a little traffic on this route, but it is all worth the trip as you will see an amazing variety of flora and fauna on the route.
Connecting: Siliguri to Alipurduar.
Route distance: 166 kilometers
Journey time: 3 to 4 hours
Best attractions: You might get to see a leopard or tiger from the Buxa Tiger Reserve.
Best time to ride: October -March is the best season to take this ride.
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14. Desert Queen (Jodhpur-Jaisalmer)
The Desert Queen is a special tourist train that runs between Jodhpur to Jaisalmer and offers all the royalty feel to the travelers. It is the result of a joint initiative of Indian Railways and IRCTC to promote tourism in Rajasthan. Passengers will get the whole essence of Rajasthan and they will have the opportunity to understand every minute detail of the diverse Rajasthani culture. This is a semi-luxury train with well-furnished interiors that give a royal feel to travelers.
Connecting: Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
Route distance: 292 km
Journey Time: 5 Hour 30 Minutes
Best attraction: Unforgettable view of Aravali range and the great Indian deserts.
Best time to ride: Ride this train between November to February.
15. Mandapam – Rameswaram
In addition to excitement and adventure, the train ride from Mandapam, Tamil Nadu, to Rameshwaram, Pamban Island, exudes tranquillity and peace. It is undoubtedly among the top railway journeys in India with scenic views. The track is laid on the country’s second-longest bridge, the Palk Strait, which is the only way to reach Pamban Island from the mainland. It is one of the most scenic rail journeys in India that passes through the longest bridge. I am sure that you will instantly fall in love with this scenic train route.
Connecting: Mandapam (Tamil Nadu) to Rameswaram via Pamban bridge
Route distance: 13 kilometers
Journey time: 1 hour.
Best attraction: Stunning view of Pamban bridge.
It is another beautiful rail route in Maharashtra that connects Karjat to Lonavala, passing through hidden hills and the bustle of civilization. The winding paths will reveal tucked-away waterfalls and rivulets as you cross the Bhor ghats. The breathtaking vistas of the seasonal waterfall will make you love the journey although the route becomes difficult during the monsoons.
Connecting : Karjat-Lonavala
Route distance: 28 Km
Journey time: 40-45 Minutes
Best attractions: Delightful sights of Pali Bhutivali Dam and Bhivpuri Waterfall.
Best time to ride: The best time to ride on the Karjat-Lonavala route by train is during the monsoon season.
17. Deccan Odyssey(Jewels of the Deccan/Palace on Wheels)
Deccan Odyssey is one of the opulent trains in India that has an Ayurveda spa, steam rooms, a gym, a library, and a few other amenities that are best on their way to provide a luxurious feel to the passengers. Deccan Odyssey runs on six different routes across Maharashtra, Delhi, and AP covering all famous occasions like Ellora Cave, Ajanta Caves, Ratnagiri, Mumbai, Delhi, Hampi, Aurangabad, Udaipur, Vadodara, Rann of Kutch, Nashik and few other spots.
Deccan Odyssey comprises of 21 extremely luxurious coaches that are best to deliver sights that will steal your heart. It makes stops for an exploration ride at every location close to the tourist destination. It has also won the title of Asia’s Leading Luxury Train in the World several times.
Connecting: Mumbai, Karnataka, Goa, Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh.
Route distance: 2,091 km approx
Journey time: 8 days
Best attraction: Get a chance to visit all famous tourist places in Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh.
Best time to ride: This train typically runs between October and May.
18. Maharajas’ Express
The Maharajas Express is a luxury tourist train that runs on four specific routes across Rajasthan. The train is completely owned and operated by IRCTC between the month of October and April. The Maharajas’ Express won the title of “The World’s Leading Luxury Train” seven times in a row at the World Travel Awards from 2012 to 2018. This scenic rail route circuit covers the regions of North-West and Central India along with focussing on the royal state of Rajasthan.
Connecting: Rajasthan to North-West and Central India
Route distance: 860 to 2771 kilometers
Journey time: 4 days to 7 days.
Best attraction: Enjoy the royal hospitality of Indian Railways along with the deserted view across your windows.
Best time to ride: October and April.
If you are planning a train journey, then prefer these scenic train routes in India to get the best vistas. These beautiful train journeys in India will let you explore hidden places along with some magnificent locations like hills, Ice clad mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, forests, and waterfalls.