The Kalka-Shimla rail course, which has been in existence now for a century, offers the charm of old-world in the midst of elevated pines and lavish green, dark mountains. This is one of the four narrow line rail courses on a hilly area in the country. Flanked by luscious green hills on both sides, the rail line, resembling two strings of silver, sticks to the precarious bends and ventures strikingly over bridges, built over little streams that shimmer in the sunlight.
Usually, when you are planning to go to Shimla from Delhi, you’d either take a direct Delhi to Shimla train, or if driving on your own, then you’d pretty much consider the very new Himalayan Express highway and zoom past some essential and noteworthy intricacies of the journey. One such aspect is the little city of Kalka that actually marks the beginning of the enchanting hill ascent, up to Shimla. Well, we’d suggest you to take a Delhi to Kalka train, and from there, take the world famous Kalka-Shimla train, famously known as the Toy Train. Why? Because if you haven’t journeyed your way to Shimla in the toy train, then we’d rate your knowledge and experiences about Shimla or its encompassing destinations 5 on a scale of 10! Yes, it’s incomplete. Here is a small account of some useful and interesting insight about this train, as well as the journey it takes you through.
This incredible rail course witnessed the movements of the who’s-who of India, including British Viceroys, Indian Dignitaries and Indian Children who were sent to the boarding schools of Shimla. Inaugurated in 1903 and now 109 years old, this line goes through meanders through a thick belt of towering pine trees and luscious green mountains. Initially built to transport the Indian Viceroy and his officers with British troops, due to this very line, Shimla turned into the Summer Capital of India, and till today is a favourite and cherished holiday spot, especially for North Indians. This was the main choice accessible for a speedier movement, else at that time, the people needed bullock-carts to travel, which mostly took 5-6 days to commute between Kalka and Shimla.
The rail line starts with its real highlight, right after its takeoff from the Kalka railway station. The toy train chugs along the line, whistling its way through the deodar, pine, ficus, oak and maple woods at a gradual speed of 22 km per hour. As the real journey begins, one is taken aback to see the change in vegetation, and the grand magnificence of the railway stations and Gothic-style bridgeways enroute. The most invigorating part of the trip is the experience of sitting by the window, breathing in the cool and fresh breeze, and enjoying the ecstatic views of the greenery, smell of fresh dew on the vegetation, the chirping of mountain birds and watching the cattle graze around the track, especially if you are going in one of the two early morning toy trains.
The Kalka-Shimla Rail line is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site under Mountain Railways of India, along with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Nilgiri Mountain Railways. After the inclusion of this line in the UNESCO Heritage List, some milestones and stone boards were erected near the essential bridges and tunnels with the verifiable insights about them. The vast majority of the stations on the way were built along with the line, so they likewise exist from the last 109 years. These pretty, little stations too were built in a Gothic style, and are worth observing for details.
Now don’t ask much, and simply get a train reservation for this route if you are planning to go to Shimla this weekend or soon. This is one marvel of an experience, and you definitely can’t afford to miss on it. Have a great time!
Tags: Delhi to Kalka train, train reservation