The train journey from Kalka to India’s erstwhile summer capital Shimla, early in the morning is one of the best things happen to me in the hills of India. It was the month of december, when the cloud of fog has all but engulfed the hills around. One has to experience this journey while going to Shimla! It is simply amazing! The journey is around 5 - 6 hours. In between you get to see many breathtaking views which includes valleys, hills. If you take the train which starts at 5:30 AM or before sunrise you may get to see the sun rising behind the valley.
Shimla, also known as the Queen of Hills, is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. It is located in the north-western ranges of the Himalayas at an altitude of 2213m. This toy train journey starts from Kalka, a town in its neighboring state, Haryana and ends in the magnificent Shimla. The Kalka –Shimla Railway is a narrow gauge railway that covers a distance of 96km. This 96-kms long railway track is built over 889 short to long bridges and passes through 102 tunnels in the foothills of the Himalayas. This railway line offers steep rise in altitude in the space of 96 kilometers between Kalka station (656 mtrs) and Shimla station (2076 mtrs). The line has as many as 919 curves,the sharpest being 48 degrees.
The idea of having a train originated when a newspaper correspondent conceived the idea of a railway line here in November 1847. A passionate plea in the Delhi Gazette by this journalist advocated the provision of a railway line to Shimla. After the submission of the report in 1887, a contract was signed on June 29, 1898 between the Secretary of State and the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka Railway Company for building and running a line on a 0.79248 m gauge. The railway line was finally purchased by the government in 1906. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was opened for operation by the infamous Viceroy Curzon on November 9th,1903.
Right from start to end, this train journey visually delights every passenger on board. Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra and Totu (Jutogh) are some of the beautiful destinations that you get to see through the glass panels of the coaches, during the journey.