A country like India – characterised by awe-inspiring beauty in its mountains, forests, grasslands, deserts and beaches – is best explored slowly, as travellers have time to take in the smells of the grasses, the lush greenery of the trees, the sounds of the many bird species and the warmth of the Indian sun. There are few better ways to experience this country than by train.

Various little trains (or “toy trains”) run different courses through tunnels, over bridges and across landscapes, boasting the beauty of India all around them. This leaves travellers free to enjoy the scenery without having to steer their car or change vehicles or modes of transport every so often. Moreover, trains move slowly and steadily, giving the passengers time to enjoy the panoramas and take photographs of the passing flowers, trees, rivers, mountains and animals.

The toy train from Kalka to Shimla offers amazing views as it travels along more than 100 tunnels and bridges. This train also stops at various stations en route, each of which is characterised by its own unique charm and history. These make for perfect photo opportunities. This trip takes six hours and covers 96 kilometres.
Image of a scene from running train in India
A scene from running train in India

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway offers guests a 46 kilometres ascension that involves passing through dense forests and across flat, abundant grasslands. It is fun-filled as the track winds its way up the mountains to the Oota Resort from the town of Mettupalayam. The Nilgiri Express also travels to Chennai from Mettupalayam on a daily basis.

Darjeeling is the narrowest of the narrow gauges and connects New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling station. The train is over 100 years old and the trip takes visitors through 86 kilometres of uninterrupted Indian countryside. The Himalayan Mountain Range is, of course, what visitors long to see on this train trip, and these impressive peaks never fail to impress. The trip takes 7.5 hours.

Matheran is the line that connects Neral to Matheran and is over 75 years old. There are no cars buzzing around Matheran, making it quiet, peaceful and unpolluted. As the train chugs up the hill towards it, the fresh air and clear sunshine prepares guests for a retreat of tranquillity. This trip takes on 1.5 hours and runs throughout the daytime.

For guests seeking a novel, relaxed way of exploring the sights and sounds of India, a train trip is suitable for the whole family and is a romantic alternative for couples. The variety of options available means opting for the most convenient trip to suit one’s budget and preferences.

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