Explore the Scenic Marvels: Top 5 Mountain Railways of India

Explore the Scenic Marvels: Top 5 Mountain Railways of India


India boasts a treasure trove of breathtaking landscapes, and the mountain railways winding through craggy terrains offer an unparalleled travel experience. These historic railways, built during the British Raj in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not only connect rural and modern India but also have the honor of being UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Let's delve into the details of the top 5 glorious mountain railways that every traveler must experience.

5. Matheran Hill Railway: A Thrilling Journey

  • Track Length: 21 km
  • Route: Neral, Jummapatti, Water Pipe, Aman Lodge, Matheran
  • Ticket Price: INR 65 (second class), INR 265 (first class), INR 1325 (deluxe salon)

Opened in 1907, the Matheran Hill Railway promises an incredible journey from Neral to Matheran. This toy train adventure includes switchbacks, sharp turns, and a tunnel named "One Kiss," adding an extra thrill to the scenic ride. As the railway aims for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, it offers not just a commute but an unforgettable experience.

4. Kangra Valley Railway: Through Misty Himalayas

  • Track Length: 164 km
  • Route: Pathankot, Jawalamukhi Road, Kangra, Nagrota, Palampur, Baijnath Paprola, Joginder Nagar
  • Ticket Price: INR 27 (one way)

Commissioned in 1929, the Kangra Valley Railway stands out as one of India's five toy trains. Covering a length of 164 km and reaching a height of 4,000 ft, this journey through the misty Himalayas offers captivating vistas. While it may not be the cleanest, the joy of the ride lies in the cool Himalayan wind caressing your face.

3. Kalka Shimla Railway: A Himalayan Gem

  • Track Length: 96.54 km
  • Route: Shimla, Summer Hill, Shoghi, Salogra, Solan Brewery, Barog, Kumarhatti Dagshai, Dharmpur, Kalka Junction
  • Ticket Price:
    • Rail Motor: Approximately INR 300
    • Shivalik Deluxe: Approximately INR 500
    • Shimla Kalka Express: Approximately INR 70
    • Himalayan Queen: Approximately Rs 260

The Kalka Shimla Railway, inaugurated in 1903, is not just an economical way to reach Shimla but also one of the most breathtaking journeys through the Himalayan mountains. Covering 96.54 km, it passes through 103 tunnels and about 800 bridges and viaducts, providing an awe-inspiring experience.

2. Nilgiri Mountain Railway: Steaming Through Tamil Nadu

  • Track Length: 46 km
  • Route: Mettupalayam, Kellar, Coonoor, Wellington, Lovedale, Ootacamund
  • Ticket Price: INR 30 (second class), INR 205 (first class), INR 15 (one way general class fare)

A symbol of well-maintained heritage, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu covers 46 km of steep, rocky terrain. Built-in 1908 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, this steam-driven train climbs from 1,070 feet to 7,228 feet, offering breathtaking views of tea estates, forests, and ravines.

1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway: A Journey Amidst Kanchenjunga

  • Track Length: 88 km
  • Route: New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri Town, Siliguri Junction, Sukna, Rangtong, Tindharia, Gayabari, Mahanadi, Kurseong, Tung, Sonada, Ghum, Darjeeling
  • Ticket Price:
    • Diesel Engine Rides: INR 800 per person
    • Steam Engine Rides: INR 1,300 per person

Taking the top spot is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, often referred to as the "toy train." Started in 1881 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, this 78 km journey weaves through serpentine tracks, switchbacks, tunnels, and bridges. With expansive meadows, tea gardens, and glorious views of Kanchenjunga, it offers an unforgettable travel experience.

Embark on these enchanting journeys and let the mountain railways of India unfold the beauty of the country's diverse landscapes, making your travel memories truly extraordinary.