Travel Bucket List – Most Scenic Indian Train Journeys

Travel Bucket List – Most Scenic Indian Train Journeys
Reading Time: 7 minutes


Railway Tourism in India


India and Railways have a history, dating back more than 160 years. Railways is one of the best and most economical mode of transportation in India, accessible to all. Not only that, Indian Railways has an important hand in the growth of the tourism sector in India, and the fact that Indian Railways is spread over 1,23,236 kms, with more than 13,000 passenger trains plying 23 million travellers from 7,349 stations, bears testimony to that fact.


Fun Fact – India is home to the fourth largest rail network in the world, and Indian Railway has been doing an excellent job in managing it. 


And the inception of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, aka IRCTC, back in 2002, was a great step towards the modernization of Indian Railways. In the past 20 years, various steps have been taken by the concerned authorities, towards modernization and digitization. And one such recent development of Indian Railways in line with the Digital India of today, has been the launch of the  IRCTC SBI Credit Card. This new credit card is here to make travelling more rewarding as it offer up to 10%  Value back on railway bookings.


The beauty about the ever-growing well-connected rail network in India, is that there are plenty of scenic rail routes for you to choose from. In fact, travelling to the different corners of India, in a train, is truly an adventure. Having said that, here is a list of some of the most amazing train journeys in India that you should experience, sooner than later. This list features both, the most scenic train journeys in India as well as the longest train journeys in India.



Most Scenic Indian Train Journeys

While there are plenty of beautiful railway routes in India, here are 5 of the Most Scenic Railway Routes in India, that you should have on your travel bucket lists.

Fun Fact – Most of these routes have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Kalka – Shimla

The 96 km stretch between Kalka and Shimla with 102 tunnels and around 82 bridges, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful train journeys in India. Trains such as the Kalka – Shimla and Himalayan Queen ply on this route, passing through stations such as Barog, Solan, Dharampur, Tara Devi, etc; that takes around 5 hours to cover.


Fun Fact – Owing to the steepest altitude rise in the distance of 96 kms, the rail route between Kalka and Shimla, finds its name in the Guinness Book of World Records.



The Kangra Valley Journey

The Kangra Valley Train journey is one of India’s best kept secrets. The Kangra Valley Passenger is the sole train plying on this route in the sub – Himalayan area, which takes over 5 hours to cover the 164 km long distance between Pathankot and Kangra.

Yes, it’s a bit slow, but totally worth the time, as you pass through picturesque lush green valleys, and breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar mountain range.

On your way from Pathankot to Kangra valley, once you cross Palampur, the views of the snowcapped Dhauladhars will surely take your mind away.

The lush Tea Gardens in Palampur



The Nilgiri Train Journey

Covering 46 kms between Mettupalayam and Ooty in a matter of 4-5 hours, ‘Nilgiri Passenger’ has been plying on this beautiful train route in South India since 1908, which also happens to be the steepest track in Asia with the maximum gradient of 8.33%.

This scenic train journey also referred to as Nilgiri Mountain Railway, through the thick pine, oak and eucalyptus forests in the Nilgiri Hills, passes through various curves and tunnels and stations such as Kallar, Hillgrove, Kateri, Coonoor and Lovedale, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Nilgiri Mountain Railways | Wikimedia Commons | Prakhar / CC


Fun Fact – The famous song ‘Chhaiyaan Chhaiyaan’ featuring Shah Rukh Khan, was shot here back in the 1990’s.



Mandappam – Rameshwaram

The train journey from Mandapam in Tamil Nadu to Rameshwaram on Pamban Island is certainly one of the best Indian train journeys. It passes over the Palk Strait, on the Pamban Bridge which is the second longest bridge of India. It is also the only route that connects mainland India to Pamban Island.

Pamban Bridge | Wikimedia Commons | Picsnapr / CC BY-SA


Fun Fact – Parts of the Bollywood movie, ‘Chennai Express’ were shot on the picturesque Pamban Bridge.



NJP – Darjeeling

Darjeeling is one of the most famous weekend getaways in the mountains of West Bengal, and it goes without saying that undertaking this 78 kms long train journey between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, is one of the best things to do in Darjeeling.

This 8 hour long scenic train journey in North East India, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, passes through Siliguri, Sukna, Kurseong, Ghum, Batasia Loop among others, a couple of tea factories, some lush tea estates and mini forests of maple, chestnut pear and cherry.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railways | By Aayushi Maheshwari



The Longest Rail Journeys in India

Travelling across India, from one corner to the other, is an experience you should have, if you are up for some unique adventures. Having said that, here are 4 of the longest Train Journeys in India, which also pass through some other scenic train routes in India, apart from those mentioned above.


Dibrugarh – Kanyakumari

Covering a total of 4273 kms in about 80 hours, Vivek Express that runs once a week between Dibrugarh in North East India to Kanyakumari in South India, halting at 50 intermediate stops, is the longest rail journey in India. It also happens to be the 24th longest train journey in the world in terms of distance covered and time taken.


Thiruvananthapuram – Silchar

The next up on the list is the Thiruvananthapuram-Silchar Superfast Express, covering a total of 3932 kms, between Thiruvananthapuram and Silchar in Assam, in a matter of 76 hours. Stopping at 54 intermediate halts, this is also the longest running superfast train in India.


Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash


Kanyakumari – Vaishno Devi Katra

Halting at 73 stations in 12 states and covering a total of 3785 kms between Kanyakumari in the South to Katra in the North in 73 hours in Himsagar Express, is third on the list. Katra in Jammu, is the nearest railway station to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.


Mangalore Central – Jammu Tawi

The fourth on the list of the longest train journeys in India is the journey between Mangalore Central and Jammu Tawi, in the Navyug Express, which takes up to 4 days covering a total of 3685 kms, halting at 59 intermediate stations. Navyug Express is the only train in India that passes through 15 states.



Indian Railways and Digital India

With the new initiatives by Indian Railways such as the launch of premium trains like Vande Bharat and equipping  stations, such as New Delhi Railway Station, Jaipur Junction Railway Station, Ahmedabad Railway Station, among others; with premium lounges, along with increasing urbanization and the rise in disposable income, there was a huge potential for a credit card, designed exclusively for railway travellers in India. 

SBI Card have managed to tap onto that opportunity by launching the IRCTC SBI Card on RuPay platform – India’s indigenous card payment scheme created by NPCI. 

Some of the IRCTC SBI Credit Card Benefits are as follows :

    • No Joining fee till 31st March 2021 
    • Up to 10%* Valueback as Reward Points on AC1, AC2, AC3, AC CC bookings made at
    • 1 % transaction fee waiver on bookings made through IRCTC website
    • 350 activation bonus Reward Points
    • 1% fuel surcharge waiver across all petrol pumps in India

Apart from these, you can also use your IRCTC SBI Card to gain access to the premium railway lounges, which are at par with the airport lounges, including the services and amenities on offer.


The fact that 1 Reward Point = Rs. 1, and that these Rewards Points can be redeemed for free train tickets, while booking on the IRCTC website, makes having this card as an amazing travel hack, in the times to come.


In case you are interested to know more about the other travel cards offered by SBI Card such as Yatra SBI Card, Club Vistara SBI Card, Etihad Guest SBI Card & more, click here.


Happy Travels!


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