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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway—part of the Mountain Railways of India UNESCO World Heritage Site—is the oldest hill passenger railway in the country. The 55 miles (88 kilometers of track connecting New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling opened in 1881, and the trip up to Darjeeling has changed little since the first journey.

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West Bengal, India

The basics

Travelers looking to ride the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or “Toy Train” as it’s been nicknamed, have a couple of options. The most convenient option is to take the steam-hauled joy train (tourist train) on a return trip from Darjeeling to Ghum, a two-hour trip. The other option is to catch the train in Kurseong and make the 3-hour, one-way trip to Darjeeling from there. Some multi-day tours of the area include rides on the train.

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Things to know before you go

  • The Toy Train is a must-do experience for fans of locomotives.
  • Make sure to bring a camera to take photos of the scenery.
  • Note that the train is not air-conditioned, so dress accordingly.
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How to get there

If you're planning to take the train all the way up to Darjeeling, you'll need to get to New Jalpaiguri, a 10- to 12-hour direct train ride from Kolkata. If you’re flying in, you can board in Siliguri. If you just want to do the tourist train from Darjeeling to Ghum and back, you can catch the train on Hill Cart Road, a 10-minute walk from the center of Darjeeling.

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When to get there

The train typically leaves from New Jalpaiguri in the morning, arriving in Darjeeling in the late afternoon. If you just want to take a joy ride, you’ll have multiple options throughout the day, particularly in the warmer months of March through June—the peak domestic tourist season. It’s best to check with your tour operator for timings, as they change throughout the year.

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Ghum

While some visitors come to Ghum simply because it's a stop on the Toy Train route, it's worth sticking around to check out some of its attractions. Along with a railway museum, there's the celebrated Ghum Monastery—one of the oldest Tibetan monasteries in India—celebrated for its 15-foot (4.6-meter) statue of Maitreya Buddha.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Kolkata?
A:
As well as visiting the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: