What most visitors undermine during their Indian escapades are journeys on the 5 most scenic rail routes of India. The Indian Railways have made travelling across the country’s beautiful topographical treasures a magnificent and a convenient experience.

Here are some of the rarely visited yet most scenic rail routes that you will love to see:

The Konkan Railway

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This 738 kms long rail route is popular amongst both, the serious back packing traveler and the lazy holiday seeker. Commencing from Mumbai, the train chugs across the beautiful Konkan coastal belt, going through Goa and finally stopping at Mangalore. It covers three states – Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. From the mesmerizing beauty of the Western Ghats to the coastal charm of lilting coconut trees and cloudy weather, this rail route like a beautiful painting will completely floor the passengers with its natural beauty. Don’t miss watching the scenic view from your window when the train crosses the Zauri river bridge in Goa!

The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway

This is one of the most sought after rail route by tourists. It is a narrow two feet gauged train, which is also fondly called the famous Toy Train of Darjeeling. It starts from New Jalpaiguri and stops at Darjeeling. The rail route takes travelers on an 86 km long breath-taking journey across the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern West Bengal at an approximate altitude of 2200 meters (at Darjeeling). The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway also crosses the village Ghum, which is India’s highest railway station. Not very surprising, this vintage locomotive beauty was added as a World Heritage Site in 1999.

The Kalka Shimla Railway

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From Kalka to Shimla, this rail route covers the mountainous Himalayan terrain of Himachal Pradesh at approximately 7116 feet of altitude and offers an exciting journey full of tunnels, quaint villages, valleys and scenic pine tree covered hills. It takes around five hours to fully cover the route. You will be able to take a glimpse of some beautiful Himalayan villages like Dharampur, Solan, Salogra and Summerhill on your way. Did you know that you would cross about 102 tunnels and more than 800 bridges on this rail route? We sure know why the British must have loved traveling on the Kalka Shimla Rail for visiting their summer destination, Shimla! In 2008, this rail route was added as a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO.

The Nilgiri Mountain railway

This rail route was laid out on the hills of Nilgiri in Tamil Nadu by the British in 1908. From Mettupalayam to Ooty, the 41 kms route covers a spectacular range of sceneries. It is one of the steepest rail routes in Asia and takes around five hours to fully complete the route. Although the innumerable tunnels and the lakes on the route will make for an exciting journey, it is the glorious blue colored Nilgiri forest which will truly leave the passengers in awe. Did you know that the famous "Chaiyya Chaiyya" song starring Shahrukh Khan has been shot here?

Palace on Wheels

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Palace on Wheels is a 14 coach luxury train which still holds a reputation amongst many Indians to be absolutely unaffordable. Beginning in New Delhi, the train covers all major cities of Rajasthan over a week and a little more. It was launched by the Indian government in 1983 to promote tourism in Rajasthan and has been treated as exotic and popular ever since. The rail route covers many beautiful cities, monuments and wild-life sanctuaries. Note that the design of all the coaches has been inspired by the royal palaces of the Nizams and royalty of India.

A journey through the Indian rail routes is an absolute visual treat. From hills, mountains, oceans, lakes, forests, deserts to absolute wilderness, the routes have something exciting for everyone. Make sure you keep your camera handy as the real clicking will take place during the train journey and not when you have reached the destination!

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