When it comes to a holiday destination many people will list India as a place they would like to visit before they die.
The South Asian country can conjure up images of wonderment for many with the nation home to some magnificent pieces of scenery, not to mention the various tourist landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the numerous religious temples. When it comes to railways in India, there are the famous images of people hanging off the side of trains travelling across the vast country. So exploring the country by train can be such a cultural and interesting experience.
But where to head when you reach India? Well there are many different train routes across the country that take in all the various sights and can take you off the beaten track to find some of nation's hidden gems. Another benefit of Indian train travel is that it is relatively cheap with even the longer journeys not costing much over £20.
So where to start your adventure? Here are a selection of train routes to experience in India.
Goa Express – Vasco da Gama to Londa
This relatively short journey of three hours and 30 minutes passes through the Goa and Karnataka region of the country. Starting from the beaches of Goa, trains move away from the coast and into the jungles of the Western Ghats. As it moves alongside the mountainside you can gaze out on waterfalls and valleys before arriving at the glow of Londa.
Chambal Express – Agra to Gwalior
The Chambal Express will give people an authentic taste of India and they will be able to see people hanging off the side of trains in person. While the Chambal region has been given a lot of bad press in recent years, it is certainly an impressive place, geographically. It boasts an unusual terrain and gives people with a sense of curiosity a chance to see a side of India they would not normally.
The Sea Bridge Ride – Mandapam to Rameswaram via Pamban
It is hard not to fall in love with this short journey to the Pamban island. The sea bridge connects the island with Mandapam in Tamil Nadu and is an absolute must for any traveller. This magnificent hop across the Gulf of Mannar involves travelling along the second longest sea bridge in India and provides truly exceptional viewing.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway – Mettupalayam to Udhagamandalam
If you do not take a jaunt on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, you will have truly missed out on a piece of Indian history. The iconic blue and cream train has been chugging its way up the mountains for over 110 years. This once-in-a-lifetime journey is not for the fainthearted however as it snakes up to a higher elevation.
Travelling over 46 kilometres to the summit of Ooty in under four and a half, the pay off is worth it with a truly magnificent at the top.
Desert Queen – Jaipur to Jaisalmer
For those that want to the differing environments of India then hopping on the Desert Queen is the best way to go. The route passes through the Thar Desert of Rajasthan providing excellent views of the desert and the colourful mud huts the region has to offer.