Train journeys in our childhood have always remained very fond memories for most of us. An overnight trip on a sleeper train made us feel like we were entering a whole new world.
When the train picked up speed, it almost felt like we were in a race with the wind. The most memorable was the part where we thought the trees by the tracks were moving. Thus, Journeys by train in India can be a great walk down memory lane. Although flights are faster, but trains are a more nature-friendly way to travel.
Indian railway stands in the fourth position among the largest railway networks in the world. Moreover, the Indian Railways still runs the ancient toy trains from the British era used by Rajputs in luxurious trains. These factors add to your train journey through this beautiful country’s colourful nature and diverse culture.
22 Top Train Journeys in India
1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train is India’s oldest narrow-gauge railway track and travels between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. This train is named DHR or the very famous Toy Train. Since the early 1880s, this track has served as an essential mode of transport for the Darjeeling region.
Today, people use it more for recreational purposes. Even though diesel-run coaches are more efficient, few parts of the train are still steam-operated. The route provides you with the scenic beauty of the Himalayas. The train moves through deep forests and within tea plantations. It also moves effortlessly on steep hill ridges.
We can see the best scenic views from Ghum station or Batasia Loop. It’s the highest railway station in India. The route passes through famous tourist spots such as Siliguri, Kurseong, Jorebunglow, etc. This track was certified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1999.
- Route length: 88 km
- Operated by: Northeast Frontier Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.1,000-Rs.1,600
- Duration: 7 hours (New Jalpaiguri – Darjeeling)
2. Kalka to Shimla
It’s a narrow-gauge mountainous route running from Kalka to Shimla by Himalayan Queen or Shivalik Express. It was built in the British era to connect the then-summer capital of Shimla with the rest of the railway system of India. Currently, toy trains run through the track, mainly meant for tourist entertainment.
It follows a steep track cutting through the Himalayan rainforest and passes through various picturesque mountainous destinations. There are a total of 102 tunnels on this route. The Barog, the longest tunnel, is the main highlight of the journey. The trail has 87 bridges and 900 curves, making it one of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Himalayan Queen is a luxurious train usually operating once a week, but the Shivalik Express runs frequently. It has modern furnishing with several in-train facilities, including a kitchen, dining table and foldable cushioned beds.
- Route length: 94 km
- Operated by: Northern Railways
- Ticket price: Rs.265 onwards
- Duration:5 hours 10 minutes(Kalka-Shimla)
3. Mumbai to Goa
Operating through the mesmerising Sahyadri hills (Western Ghats) and the Arabian Sea on another. It’s one of India’s most fantastic and everyone’s favourite train routes. The Mandovi Express transits between Mumbai and Madgaon of Goa.
This railway route provides lovely scenery of rivers, hills, lush green valleys, coastlines, beautiful tunnels and bridges. The train encounters 92 tunnels, almost 2,000 bridges and the Panvalnadi rail bridge, the country’s highest viaduct. The best train is the Mandovi Express.
- Route length: 580.5 km
- Operated by: Central Railway, Konkan Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.225-Rs.2,610
- Duration: 11 hours 35 minutes (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Madgaon Junction)
4. Ratnagiri to Mangalore
Matsyaganda Express is the best train on this route. The meaning of the train’s name is “smell of fish”. The name came into being due to the rail route passing through the fishing coast of Western India. It is a superfast express train running daily between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus of Mumbai and Mangaluru Central. India’s most Scenic Train Route is found here.
This track passes through the lush green valleys and dense forests of the Western Ghats. Tourists can experience sharp bends, long tunnels and the beauty of the river on this journey. The best train is Matsyagandha Express.
- Route length: 883 km
- Operated by: Southern Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.540-Rs.2070
- Duration: 16 hours (approx) (Ratnagiri – Mangalore)
5. Pune to New Delhi
Nizamuddin Duronto Express falls under non-stop express trains in India and connects the two major cities of Pune and New Delhi. Its superfast speed reduces the total journey time from 20 to 26 hours.
The journey goes through pictorial scenery, including rivers, mountains, villages, deserts and even salt mounds. Thus, you can experience the rich nature of India.
The ‘Duronto’ Express Train is undoubtedly one of the prime trains in India. Its clean environment and satisfying service make the journey even more favourable. It even provides delicious food to the customers. The price is included in the ticket.
- Route length: 1,660 km
- Operated by: Indian Railways (South Central Railway zone)
- Nizamuddin Duronto Express Ticket price: Rs.4684-Rs.5420
- Duration: 19 hours (Pune – New Delhi)
6. Mettupalayam to Ooty
The Nilgiri Passenger toy train has been running since 1908 and can withstand the modernisation of today’s society. It still operates on a steam engine on a track identified as Asia’s steepest track with a maximum gradient of 8.3%. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway track was certified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2005. It is the only South Indian mountainous track that operates daily.
The blue and white train cut through the white clouds and the Nilgiri mountains. The train passes through various scenic beauties like Kallar, Adderly, Hillgrove, Kateri, Runneymede, Coonoor and Lovedale. Thus, such rich scenery makes this railway track a hotspot among filmmakers.
The famous Bollywood song “ChaiyyaChaiyya” from the movie Dil Se.. was shot on this track. The Nilgiri Passenger is the slowest train in India; its speed is 10 km per hour.
- Route length: 46 km
- Operated by: Salem railway division
- Ticket price: Rs.190-Rs.540
- Duration: 5 hours(Mettupalayam – Ooty)
7. Hubli to Madgaon
This railway route from Karnataka to Goa is called the Vasco da Gama route. This is the most beautiful railway route in India. The route with the best scenic views when travelling between these two states. Hubli to Madgaon is the most thrilling and alluring train journey in India. The track passes through the mesmerising Western Ghats or Sahyadri Hills greenery.
The trip’s highlight is the Dudhsagar Falls, descending from a height of 320m. The waterfall is named Dudhsagar, meaning milky sea, after the white foam created at the base after falling from such a height. It’s India’s one of the highest falls.
Climb down at Londa junction to look at the waterfall, the nearest station to Dudhsagar Falls.
- Route length: 175 km
- Operated by: IRCTC
- Ticket price: Rs.95-Rs.505
- Duration: 10 hours
8. Kanyakumari to Trivandrum
Compared to the other journeys on this list, it’s relatively short. It takes 2 hours to reach Trivandrum from Kanyakumari with Island Express. Although it is a short trip, one can fully experience the natural beauty of Kerala through it.
As the train leaves the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari, and enters Kerala, the travellers are greeted with the characteristic palm trees of “God’s own country”. The best train is the Island Express.
The train passes through jungle-like areas of dense greenery. You can also witness glimpses of the daily lives of the native people as it pass through a few villages.
- Route length: 87 km
- Operated by: South Western Railways
- Ticket price: Rs.145-Rs.705
- Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes(Kanyakumari – Trivandrum)
9. Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley
One is a famous beach city, while the other is a mountain town. Both are favourite tourist spots of Andhra Pradesh. The government initially built this track to export minerals and ores from South India to other parts of India.
It still serves its original purpose and attracts many tourists (an AC glass-domed train is best). In earlier days, only a few trains ran through this route for transport. Now, many passenger trains also run through here.
The journey is filled with sharp turns and loops along with long tunnels. This train covers the most Beautiful Scenic Train Route in India. The dense forests and mountainous greenery of Araku Valley complement these. Altitude 900m- to 1200m having 42 tunnels and several bridges.
- Route length: 130 km
- Operated by: East Coast Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.70-Rs.615
- Duration: 3 hours
Read Digha tourist spots
10. Hassan – Mangalore
Initially, this track was a metre gauge line, i.e., the railway track gauge was 1 metre in width. The railway opened it for passenger transportation on 20 May 1979. Since then, it has been attracting tourists because of its spell-bounding natural beauty on the way. It’s an incredible train journey through the western ghats.
Trains pass through 57 tunnels and glide over bridges with beautiful mountains, forests and waterfalls. This train runs between Sakleshpur and Subramanya stations.
It is one of the most pleasant train journeys in South India. It goes through the lofty mountainous Western Ghats. Travellers can see vast palm plantations and rice meadows on the journey.
- Route length: 183 km
- Operated by Southern Railway and South Western Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.100-Rs.385
- Duration:4 hours9 minutes
11. Matheran to Neral toy train
Named Matheran Hill Railway or MHR, this track is 2 ft wide in Maharashtra, India. It connects the two towns of Matheran and Neral. The Neral to Matheran toy train has been running for the last 112 years; it’s a popular tourist attraction, which chugs 21 km from Neral in Raigad district to the Matheran hill station.
The train starts from Neral, near the bustling city of Mumbai. On its way, it passes by a dense forest. A horse-shoe lake is formed on this route where the train takes a tunnel to pass through it. Then, it gives two simultaneous zig-zag ways through deep cuttings to reach Panorama Point. From there, it turns back towards Simpson’s Tank to come to Matheran.
Being the only Heritage railway of Maharashtra running a distance of just 21km earns it a spot on India’s best train journeys.
- Route length: 21 km
- Operated by: Central Railways
- Ticket price: Rs.45-Rs.1325
- Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
12. Jammu to Baramulla
Wanna A trip to Heaven? The Jammu-Baramulla railway route is a scenically beautiful trip for tourists and one of the most challenging North India tracks. This railway track has been laid to unite the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the Indian mainland.
It links the four major towns of Jammu & Kashmir’s union territory: Jammu, Udhampur, Srinagar and Baramulla. The Only Passenger Train in Kashmir Valley ( 04613 Banihal – Baramulla DEMU )
This route has more than 700 bridges and many tunnels on its way. Mountains surround it and also cross the Chenab River. This region experiences harsh winters with snowfall.
A part of this track, joining Katra to Banihal, is yet to be completed. However, the government will complete the railway link project very soon.
- Route length: 356 km
- Operated by: Northern Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.3,700
- Duration: 13 hours 30 minutes
13. Vasco Da Gama to Londa
Every Sunday, the Goa Express travels from Goa to Karnataka, passing through Goa’s aesthetic beaches and villages. Most of its track in Goa runs alongside the state’s famous beaches.
Travellers get a quick view of the Arabian Sea inside the train. Next, the train proceeds into the Western Ghats and runs through the dense rainforests of the area. We can also see a few waterfalls on this ride. The best train is the Goa Express.
- Route length: 108.7 km
- Operated by: South Western Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.38-Rs.194
- Duration:3 hours 35 minutes(Vasco Da Gama – Londa)
14. Guwahati to Silchar
Guwahati to Silchar is the most ethereal train journey in northeast India, and the Avadh Assam Express meanders its way through the lush green valleys of Assam. It moves within the tea plantation areas of the rolling Haflong Valley.
Tourists can also witness the beautiful hilly landscape of Assam while moving through Lumding and Barak Valley. The greenery and cold weather bring a sense of calm while travelling through this route. The river Jatinga, flowing underneath, also enhances the beauty. The best train is the Guwahati Silchar Express.
- Route length: 380 km
- Operated by: NF Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.120-Rs.765
- Duration:11hours 40 minutes(Guwahati –Silchar)
15. Konkan Railway route
It is one of the first railway tracks in India to link the coastal areas with the nearby towns and villages. Konkan Railways hugs India’s southwest coastline and takes you on a breathtaking journey.
The route involves over 2,000 bridges, with the former largest viaduct, Panvalnadi. There are also 92 tunnels through the mountains of the Western Ghats, which accompany the railway track and enhance its beauty. One can spot waterfalls dropping down from the surrounding hills while travelling on this route.
It extends from Karnataka, crosses Goa and ends at Roha in Maharashtra. Apart from the scenery, it is also popular among tourists because of its connectivity with the otherwise inaccessible parts of India. Many trains, like Matsyagandha Express and Jan Shatabdi Express, use this track.
- Route length: 756.25 km
- Operated by: Konkan Railway Corporation
- Ticket price: depends on the train
- Duration: depends on the train
16. Kangra Valley Railway route
The Kangra Valley Railway track starts from Pathankot, Punjab and runs to Joginder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh. This last narrow gauge track was engineered in India. The line consists of two tunnels, of which one is 250 ft and the other is 1,000 ft in length.
The project avoided the expensive way of going through mountains and opted for a more straightforward curved way around the slope.
It is one of the hidden gems, hardly ever visited by tourists and mainly used by locals for transport. You can enjoy the calmness of the mountains without a crowd. We can observe the local “Himachali” lifestyle on board. Tourists can enjoy the green slopes of the Dhauladhar mountain range. Several bridges and passes accompany the track throughout.
- Route length: 164 km
- Operated by: Northern Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.27-Rs.271
- Duration: 9 hours 15 minutes (Pathankot – Jogindernagar)
17. Mandapam to Rameswaram
The train runs from Tamil Nadu Mandapam to Rameswaram on Pamban Island. Being on a one-of-a-kind rail route gives travellers an exciting and memorable scariest adventure.
The Pamban Bridge was India’s first sea bridge in 1914. The main appeal of this trip is the Pamban Bridge of 2.06 km. The bridge connects Pamban Island with mainland India. Today, it stands as the second-longest sea bridge in the nation. It hangs over 41 ft above sea level and gives travellers an experience of rising above the waters of the Arabian Sea.
- Route length: 17.5 km
- Operated by: Southern Railway
- Ticket price: Rs.45-Rs.460
- Duration: 1 hour
18. Old Delhi to Katra
The most important train for travelling to Kashmir from Delhi is the Jammu Mail. Starting from Old Delhi Railway station, it travels daily to Katra. Katra or Katra Vaishno Devi is a holy city of the union territory. It is home to the divine shrine of Vaishno Devi. Thus, it is one of the most tourist-infiltrated cities of Kashmir. The best train is Jammu Mail.
It is an overnight trip. Close your eyes while observing Delhi city life and wake up in the Himalayas. It curves its way through the slopes of the young Himalayas. Nevertheless, the marvel of Indian engineers has allowed continuous, smooth journeys since its inception.
- Route length: 661 km
- Operated by: Northern Railways
- Ticket price: Rs. 355 – Rs. 2,335
- Duration: 15 hours 25 minutes (Delhi – Katra)
19. Assam to New Delhi
The Rajdhani Express trains are a group of elite trains started by the Indian Railways to connect the country’s important cities. This series of trains was first started in 1969, mainly to connect Delhi and Kolkata. There are three versions of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express launched one by one due to popular demand. The best train is the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express.
The first half of the journey involves a scenery of tea plantations surrounding the route. After progressing further, you can observe the vast paddy fields. Unlike the rolling slope of tea plantations, these are flatlands. The sunset over these vast fields is a sight to see when travelling by train.
- Route length: 2,480 km
- Operated by: Northern Railways & Northeast Frontier Railways
- Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express Ticket price: Rs.3923 – Rs.6845
- Duration: 37 hours 20 minutes (Assam – New Delhi)
20. Bhubaneswar to Brahmapur
The train route from Bhubaneswar to Brahmapur is a two-hour-long journey that passes the Chilika Lake. It’s India’s biggest saltwater lake. The vast blue surface creates a dream-like scenery.
This lake is a hotspot for migratory birds flowing in from all over the world. It’s also a famous commercial fishing spot. The stunning train route runs between the Eastern Ghats and Chilka Lake.
Trains take around 15 minutes to cross this marvellous view. The slight curve in the track here provides a mesmerising sight for tourists. The beauty of the lagoon adds to the travelling experience.
- Route length: 153 km
- Operated by: Eastern Railway
- Ticket price: Rs. 80 – Rs. 1,000
- Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx)
21. Mumbai to Pune
The rail route between Mumbai and Pune is one of the most important routes in India. Many important stations like Dadar and Lonavala are on this route. The beginning part, till Karjat, is like any other busy rail route. From Karjat, it travels up the Western Ghats to reach Lonavala.
The exotic beauty of the mountainous forest surrounds the track. It’s a downhill route from Lonavala Mumbai to Pune. Passengers can feel the cool air at that time. This beautiful journey takes about three hours to complete. The stunning route of Konkan Railways on India’s southwest coastline is very popular.
- Route length: 192 km
- Operated by: Indian Railway
- Ticket price: Rs. 105 – Rs. 375
- Duration: 3 hours
22. Siliguri-New Mal-Hasimara-Alipurduar, The Dooars Voyage
The Dooars region of West Bengal has many popular railway routes. One is the track that begins at Siliguri Junction and ends at Alipurduar. The trail has many wonderful natural creations. Wildlife enthusiasts are fond of this journey as it passes through the dense forests of some well-known national parks.
These consist of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapramari Forest, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve. It’s hard to witness any wild animals from a moving train, but the greenery of forests is a sight to see. Tourists may visit the natural beauty of the Himalayas during the journey.
The Teesta and Sankosh rivers flowing against this mountainous backdrop enhance the natural beauty of this route. The best train is KYQ Capital Express. Train Route is Siliguri to Aliduarpur.
- Route length: 175 km
- Operated by: Indian Railways
- Ticket price: Rs. 95 – Rs. 140
- Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
India is a diverse country. Here, you can find all the different natural habitats like deserts, forests, coastal areas, etc. Train Journeys in India might be the best way to experience the natural beauties of these areas. With the progress of Indian railways, there might be more railway tracks with exquisite natural beauty shortly.