Make sure to be on
board the Darjeeling Himalayan Train. Described by the Guinness Railway Book as
‘one of the world’s most spectacular’ rail journeys, it is one of the things
you must do when you are in
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a
piece of inspirational railway engineering. A tiny locomotive engine heaves its way up a
near – vertical mountain, daily hauling its trainload of men and materials up a climb
of over 2000 metres.
The trip from Siliguri to
has been described as the journey of a lifetime, and many train enthusiasts consider it
to be the ultimate rail wonder of the world that still exists to be enjoyed. Literally a
‘ toy’ train, its narrow gauge of 2 ft is the narrowest of narrow gauges. En route
the train passes through plantations.
One of the stations, enroute is Ghoom which, at
2258 m above sea level, is one of the highest railway stations in
. Traditionally one stops for a cup of tea at Ghoom. As the train chugs along at
snail’s pace through Ghoom town, children hop on and off the train and one can lean
out to do one’s shopping without ever leaving the train. One also gets a close look at
the bazaars and shops of Kurseong town as
the little train steams through. Just before arriving at
the train takes a most spectacular loop with the mighty kanchenjunga, 8602 m high,
dominating the eastern horizon. The third highest mountain in the world, it affords one
of the most panoramic views possible – a truly majestic sight.
train, built along the old
Hill Cart Road
that was used by horse-drawn traffic and bullock carts, uses the same alignment most of
the way. Where the gradient is too steep ingeniousluy built loops and spirals, zig-zags
and reverses ae used to enable one to continue one’s journey up the mountain slopes.
Surprisingly, there are no tunnels on this line and passengers have an uninterrupted
view of the most breathking scenery.