India offers a different aspect of her personality – exotic, extravagant, elegant, eclectic -- to each traveller to the country. In this section, we aim to help you choose that particular experience which will shape your vision of the country.
Mountain Trains & Luxury Trains
If you have some time to spare, take a slow toy train up to the hill resort of Shimla, Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Darjeeling or Matheran. There is nothing to match the experience of chugging up the hills, past little hamlets and terraced fields, making your way through tunnels and over breathtaking bridges. Its leisurely pace offers you a panoramic view of changing vistas. The invigorating air and the delights of scenic hill resort provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway starts from the town of Mettupalayam and thus begins a journey full of twists and turns as this narrow gauge train ascends 46 km, on its way to the hill resort at Ooty. At a maximum speed of 33 km per hour this 'toy train' treks across plains, plantations and forest clad hills. The 16 tunnels and tall bridges on the way along with the breathtaking view make this toy train journey to Ooty an extraordinary experience!
Access to Ooty
Ooty is connected by a narrow gauge line from Mettupalayam, which serves as the railhead for mainline trains.
The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla is entertaining with 107 tunnels and lofty arched bridges. The dazzling view and the stops at the picturesque stations along the way Dharmpore, Taksal, Gamma and Solan all add up to an exhilarating experience.
Access to Shimla
A broad gauge line up to Kalka connects Shimla. 'The Toy Train' covers the distance of 96 km between the two stations within six hours.
Major Trains to Mettupalayam
The Nilgiri Express connects Mettupalayam with Chennai daily. Coimbatore, the nearest city is 90 km away and linked to all the major cities by rail . Mettupalayam is easily accessible from Coimbatore by frequent bus or train services.
The 77 year old line, connecting Neral (on main line of Central Railway) to Matheran , is the main way to reach the tiny hill resort, close to Mumbai. As the little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The lack of vehicular traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat.
Access to Matheran
The toy train to Matheran commences from Neral (Mumbai Pune line), which is connected from Mumbai by local train. The journey up to Matheran from Neral takes about 1 1/2 hours. The toy train runs between sunrise and sunset.
The most famous of the little trains, is the one linking the town of New Jalpaiguri the plains to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. With a 2 ft gauge, the Darjeeling Hill Railway is indeed a 'toy train' being the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The tiny centuryold engine is connoisseur's delight. The 86 km Darjeeling line has no tunnels, thus allowing the traveller an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalaya. The 7 1/2 hour ride is a journey especially for rail buffs.
Access to Darjeeling
New Jalpaiguri , the starting point of the hill train to Darjeeling, has direct connections to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and other places in India.
Evoke the luxury of a bygone era in the luxury trains of India. You can soak in the sights of various parts of India on trains take you to the times of the Maharajas with the same impeccable service and luxury that they were accustomed to. Click on the links below to know more.