Nothing matches the charm of a quintessential Indian rail journey. There’s always a sense of nostalgia that tags along. Thanks to India’s diverse landscape, the country is blessed with gorgeous train routes that add to the bliss. The Indian Railways has introduced vistadome coaches in some trains for passengers to make the most of their experience.
Featuring glass ceilings and large glass windows, these coaches provide 360-degree views of the route. The vistadome coaches come with rotating seats and an observation lounge. These coaches are also equipped with digital entertainment system and Wi-Fi facilities. So far, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has rolled out vistadome coaches in 45 trains.
8 destinations you can visit by vistadome coaches
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
One of the most popular hill stations in India, Shimla has everything that the seasoned traveller seeks. From colonial buildings and bustling markets to stunning vistas and cool cafes, Shimla will never disappoint you. The 95.5-kilometre Kalka-Shimla narrow-gauge railway line was inducted into the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 2008. You can visit Shimla by taking the Him Darshan Express, which was started in 2019. The train features six vistadome coaches.
Train: Train Number 52453/54 and Train Number 52459/60 Kalka – Shimla Express
Goa continues to be the favourite beach destination of Indians. Known for its happening nightlife, sandy beaches, Portuguese architecture, and lush greenery, Goa is simply incredible. The iconic Mumbai to Goa route introduces you to the magnificent Western Ghats and the pastoral Konkan region. Embark on the Mumbai-Madgaon Express and get drenched in nature’s beauty as the train passes through enchanting waterfalls, dark tunnels, and age-old bridges.
Train: Train Number 12051/52 Mumbai – Madgaon Express
Kevadiya has gained immense popularity in a short time, thanks to the Statue of Unity. Towering at 597-feet, it is the world’s tallest statue. Constructed in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Statue of Unity in Gujarat was included in Time magazine’s second annual list of the world’s greatest places. Built on the Sadhu Bet islet near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in the Narmada district, the statue is also famous for the Kevadia Zoological Park.
Train: Train Number 20947/48 Ahmedabad – Kevadiya Express and Train Number 20949/50 Ahmedabad – Kevadiya Express
Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh
Nestled in Vizag, Araku Valley sits about 2,990 feet above sea level. The Eastern Ghats watch over its numerous tunnels, waterfalls, orchards, valleys, and gardens. The Anantagiri and Sunkrimetta reserved forests and expansive coffee plantations add to its lush green cover. From adventurous trekking opportunities to leisurely spots for a stroll – Araku offers tourists a whole range of experiences. The rail route from Vizag to Araku via Kirandul is utterly blissful, to say the least.
Train: Train Number 18551/52 Visakhapatnam – Kirandul Express
Dooars, West Bengal
Literally translating to ‘door’, Dooars is a gateway to the neighbouring country of Bhutan. It is bound by River Teesta on the east and River Sankoshi on the west. The pleasant weather here serves as an invitation for migratory birds as well as elephants, bison, leopards, barking deer, and rhinos. You can also take a leisurely stroll in the tea gardens of the region. History buffs can even head to the Buxa fort. Dooars is a few hours’ drive from New Jalpaiguri, which can be reached by the below-given vistadome train.
Train: Train Number 15777/78 Alipurduar – New Jalpaiguri Express
Board the Deccan Queen Express and get ready for the experience of a lifetime. One of the most stunning rail routes in India, the Mumbai-Pune vistadome experience will take you through verdant hills, gentle rivers and deep valleys of the scenic Western Ghats. Pune is known for its treks and hill forts. Besides heritage monuments, gardens, and lakes, it also has a thriving culinary scene and a buzzing nightlife.
Train: Train Number 11007/08 Mumbai – Pune Express, Train Number 12123/24 Deccan Queen Express
The coastal town of Mangalore or Mengaluru, famous for its scrumptious cuisine, is home to some of India’s cleanest and most tranquil beaches. The train journey from Bengaluru to Mengaluru is extremely picturesque and takes you through the mesmerising Western Ghats. The train begins from Nettana and ends at Sakleshpur. A prime attraction on this route is the Siribagilu station, which is perched atop the Brahmagiri range.
Train: Train Number 16539/40 Yeswantpur – Mangalore Express and Train Number 16575/76 Yeswantpur – Mangalore Express
The vistadome service from Guwahati to Haflong is among the first few started by the Northeast Frontier Railway. Assam‘s only hill town of Haflong offers a pocketful of adventures to the discerning traveller. The lush landscapes, cotton clouds, rolling green valleys, and magnificent hills are just some of the reasons that make Haflong a very popular getaway option.
Train: Train Number 05888 Guwahati – New Haflong Tourist Special Train
Main and featured image: Courtesy Shutterstock
This story first appeared on Travel + Leisure India