Sunday, July 14

Ask Arnab : Planning one train trip in India, which one should it be?

"Ask Arnab" is my initiative to organize all your queries sent to me through email, fb, twitter or carrier pigeons. It will serve two purposes, help fellow travellers with similar queries directly find my answer on the web and help me save the cost of housing an elephant to remember all that I replied before.

Today's question is about a mode of transport that is extremely close to my heart - the Railways.
It's from Michele D'Amico from Santa Cruz, California

If I can only take one train trip in India, which should it be?

Ahh, that is a tough one Michele!
If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime train trip in India, it has to be the Palace on Wheels. It is the epitome of luxury in India's train travel, easily finding itself in the bucket list of rail fans from around the world. You can get yourself transported to the world of the Maharajas by exploring their exquisite palaces and experiencing the royal service in a train that resembles the grandeur of their privately-run state railways of the yesteryear.

Interiors of the Place on Wheels

But POW is expensive even by global standards and if luxury is not what you are looking for, you can take a trip starting from Trivandrum (capital of the southern state of Kerala) to Mumbai passing through the Konkan Railways - the line, which runs parallel to the Arabian Sea coastline, offering some of the most spectacular views of any Indian rail journey.
Running along the contours of Western Ghats, the Konkan Railway features a maze of over two thousand bridges and about a hundred tunnels through mountains, gorges, river basins and palm-fringed backwaters. The construction of Konkan Railways is an engineering marvel; a man-made feat symbolizing that everything is possible.

Bridges and Waterfalls mark the Konkan Railway

Another train trip that might soon beat the Konkan Railways in its complexity and scenic offerings is the Kashmir Railway. Since it is still incomplete, I wouldn't suggest it to to you as you will have to break your journey and take a few road trips in between to see the entire stretch. Expected to be completed by 2018, this railway promises to connect the picturesque Kashmir Valley to the rest of India.

The Kashmir Railway in Qazigund

In case you fall in love with the Indian Railways and decide to see a bit more of India through its lifeline(the railway), you can check my post on the Most Scenic Train Journeys in India.

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