Train journeys might not be as swift as flight journeys, but they undeniably have a sense of romanticism associated with them. Perhaps it is the time a journey takes, or the fact that one generally ends up finding interesting company, or plainly the stunning visuals that one encounters while travelling — train journeys often prove to be extremely fulfilling. Summer is already here, and there are a fair number of long weekends feature prominently on the calendar, other than the much-awaited summer holidays. In case you are looking for some getaways, we bring to you some spectacular train journeys. Take your pick.
Himsagar Express: Kanyakumari – Kashmir
Have you ever wondered how would it be to travel from the southern tip of the country to the extreme north? Well, in case you are already raising your eyebrows in disbelief, let us tell you there is indeed a train that will help you commute from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. The Himsagar Express takes 70 hours, that is roughly five days, and will take you from the northern tip of the country to the extreme south. The fare is Rs 995 for each person (approximately).
Toy trains in India: Darjeeling and Shimla
The iconic toy train that connects New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling has featured in several songs and films and has a charm of its own. The toy train travels through dense forests, tea plantations and reverses and loops at Agony Point. If it is a clear day and you are lucky, then you will also be able to see the snow-capped tip of Kanchenjunga.
The Kalka-Shimla toy train provides stunning views of the hills and villages. It takes five-six hours to reach Shimla. The booking of this train opens one month in advance, unlike other trains that open two months in advance.
Maharajas’ Express: 6 journeys through heritage circuits
Referred as the ‘world’s leading luxury train’ for the sixth consecutive time, the Maharaja’s express is India’s leading luxury train. It passes through the various heritage destinations across India. The train provides various packages starting from Rs 4 lakh, for trips that span from four days to eight days, covering northern sights such as Ranthambore, Agra and Jaipur to southern destinations such as Hampi, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram. It was also awarded the best “Luxury hospitality and lifestyle awards” in 2015 and 2016. Booking for the train starts around a year in advance, though last-minute seats could also be available.
The Golden Chariot: Luxuriously connecting Karnataka
In case you wish to explore South India, the Golden Chariot may be your desired carrier. The train, an initiative by the Karnataka State Tourism Board, has 11 luxuriously furnished saloons designed with elegant Mysore-style furniture with state-of-the-art facilities: an Ayurveda spa centre, in-house fine-dining restaurants among others. In 2013 it bagged the ‘Asia’s leading luxury train award. The prices start from Rs 3 lakh onwards. Bookings and details for upcoming journeys would start July 2018, as renovation work is currently on.
Goa Express: Delhi to Goa, across the Western Ghats
The Goa Express, travelling from Vasco Da Gama in Goa to Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi, is a joy ride spread across 39-odd hours. In case you sit by the window, you will be able to watch the beautiful Goan villages. As the train moves towards the Western Ghats, it will move through thick jungle, maneuvering near the mountain side. Keep a lookout for waterfalls in the distance. It is quite a view. Travelling a distance of about 2202km, the train passes through Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and passes through a small portion of Rajasthan at Dhaulpur without stopping.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
Royal Palace on Wheels, launched in January 2009, is a step up from the Palace on Wheels. The train makes a week-long journey through the heritage sites of Rajasthan starting from Delhi. It has 14 passenger coaches with three deluxe saloons on each coach and the 14th coach has two super deluxe saloons. The Super Deluxe Coach is called Taj Mahal. The fares start from Rs 3.78 lakh (plus taxes) onwards.
Mandapam to Rameswaram
Often known as one of the dangerous yet picturesque routes in India, the train journey from Mandapam in Tamil Nadu to the island Rameswaram must be on the list of those who love adventure. The train runs on a thin bridge and the sight that will you greet you will ensure that you do not forget this journey ever.
Palace on Wheels: Rajasthan
Palace on Wheels was introduced in 1996 and was the first luxurious train to take passengers onboard in India. The Nizams of Hyderabad, the kings of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat and the viceroys of India once used the coaches of this train. The train passes through the heart of Rajasthan, taking travellers to some best tourist spots in the desert state. Fares start at around Rs 3.63 lakh (approximately).