UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Started in: In 1881 (Was completed in 1908)
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Year of Inscription: 1999

Reasons for Inscription: Criteria number (2) and (4). The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway System is the spectacular example of the technical and cultural traits of the colonial era. These trains illustrate different phases of technical developments in the hill areas of the country.

Category: Human activity, Transport and Trade.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as 'Toy Train', links New Jalpaigudi to Darjeeling. It passes through Ghoom at an elevation of about 2258 meters. The wonderful design of this train comprises six zigzag reverses. The Toy Train is no more a vital means of transportation; however, it has continued to exist because of its exclusive historical significance and tourist appeal.

An insight of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was a wing of North Bengal state during British rule. It is a small gauge railway that follows hill cart road and passes through it at a regular interval. There is now a diesel system in this train. If a tourist wants to enjoy the ride of wonderful blue steam engine of prehistoric times, he should take the train service starting from Kurseong.

The train boasts of first class coaches having windows with large views along with weather permitting which turns out to be a unique and pleasant travel experience to the traveler. The journey gradually unfurls some of the most magnificent splendors of nature. The spellbinding panorama of Kanchenjunga Mountains is revealed to the travelers, when the train reaches its highest point in Jorbunglow (2438 meters). The train does a full circle just beyond the Ghoom, at the Batasia Loop. This loop is the most striking of the three loops that come across the way.

The train departs from Siligudi at 9 AM and it reaches Darjeeling at 3 PM approximately. Some travelers find this journey a real test of fortitude, especially after an all night expedition from Kolkata to Siligudi. The tourists who don't want to take this long journey can take a ride of steam train from Kurseong or can also enjoy a short journey from Darjeeling to Ghoom. This journey includes just 7 kilometers of distance and one can either walk or take bus, taxi or train in order to return Darjeeling.