You may criticise Mumbai for being concrete, polluted and over-populated, but there’s no denying that its location on the map is perfect for everyone who longs to travel to some of the best destinations in the country; especially those who love to travel by trains. All of us would agree that there's a magic in travelling by trains. There's nothing like observing cities and villages glisten in the spectacular glow of sunrises and sunsets as the rhythmic clattering of trains transports us to a land faraway. So for all Mumbaikers who have a love affair with trains (no, not the local train), here are the best scenic routes to travel through!
Train: Jam Ten Express; Panvel Station, Mumbai - Tirunelveli, Thiruvananthapuram
Duration: 20 hrs
Running Days: Saturday, Sunday
Highlights: This train route is probably the best way to discover South India in one go. The train tracks are laden through the scenic west-coast of the country, along with gems like Udupi, Kannur and Alleyppey. Get ready to be enamoured by visions of rivers, the sea and lush green mangrove forests along the way.
Train: Mandovi Express; Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal, Mumbai - Madgaon, Goa
Duration: 13 hrs
Running Days: Monday-Sunday
Highlights: While a road-trip between Mumbai and Goa is a big fad among youngsters, the train route between the two destinations is one of the most beautiful in all of India. Visions of the pristine Mandivi river double check all spellings will tease you as you get closer to Goa and Dudhsagar falls on the way makes for an amazing view! The train zooms along the massive waterfall, so close, that you can hear the waterfall roar like thunder. It is definitely a ride you must experience.
Train: Swaraj Express; Bandra Terminus, Mumbai - Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra, J&K
Duration: 33h 15m
Running Days: Monday, Tuesday, Friday
Highlights: This epic train journey will take you all across the country, to one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites among Hindus, the Vaishno Devi Temple. In one journey, you can traverse throughout India – the imposing Western Ghats, along lush deciduous forests of Gujarat, the sunny mustard fields of Punjab, regal deserts of Rajasthan, and finally, the pristine sentinels of Jammu & Kashmir.
Train: Deccan Express; Mumbai Dadar Central, Mumbai- Neral Junction, Matheran
Running Days: Monday-Sunday
Highlights: This is one of the most popular destinations among Mumbaikers, a haven tucked in Raigarh district of Maharashtra. An eco-sensitive region, Matheran is a no-automobile location; and thus the only way to reach here is to take a train. The entire route is a treat for the eyes, the curves and dips through the flourishing Western Ghats make for a picturesque journey. This route is a shortcut to feeling like you're in the lap of Himalayas, while still being down south.
Train: Puducherry Express; Mumbai Central, Mumbai - Puducherry, Pondicherry
Running Days: Monday, Friday, Sunday
Highlights: This is a wonderful journey to explore the lovely train route Lonavla, going towards the east-coast of the country. Going right across the enchanting Sahaydris, the train takes you along the coastlines of Vellore, coastline of Vellore? Vellore is landlocked. Please check the same for the other two places. Villupuram and Virvannamalai, where you can spot beaches right from your berth.
Train: Koyna Express; CST, Mumbai - Satara
Running Days: Monday-Sunday
Highlights: The train route between these two destinations takes you through Pune, and then onward through Shindavane and Sahyadri Mountains. The mountains surrounding the route are completely barren, and yet yet. not "and yet". Don't use both together. they have a raw charm of their own. Moreover, the route also has several tunnels, archways and waterfalls which make the journey even more fun! You are sure to be stuck to the train windows watching the scenes in amazement.
Train: Bandra Terminus Jaisalmer Express; Bandra Terminus, Mumbai-Jaisalmer Station, Jaisalmer
Running Days: Friday
Highlights: This train route will take you right into the mighty Thar desert that lies between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer on this route. You'll hit this area as the sun is rising, so you can watch golden desert sands slowly come to life. Rajasthan is also known for its lively culture, traditions and attires, so keep a look out for men and women adorned in their beautiful poshaks, going about their day. This train journey will make you realise what infinity looks like.
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Train: Matsyagandha Express; Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Railway Station, Gokarna Road Railway Station
Running days: Monday- Sunday fix spacing
Highlights: For those of you who've overdone trips to Goa and are looking for beaches that are more secluded and cleaner; there's no better option than Gokarna. The journey from Mumbai to Gokarna is absolutely breathtaking, taking you along the rich western coastline of the country. Right from the tropical forests of Maharashtra, the natural abundance of Kerala and the Karavalli coastlines - double check all spellings from Karnataka, you can experience it all along this route.
So what are you waiting for? With this list, it's high time you take a chance at an impromptu trip.
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