/ Adventure Travel
adventure — By Vawn on April 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm
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Catch the toy train to Shimla

Back in the days of the British Raj, India’s elite would head to the hills – the Himalayan foothills, that is – to beat the summer heat. And Shimla (or Simla, as it was referred to then) became the summer capital of India, when the who’s who of Delhi would transfer to the hill station to breathe cool mountain air and attend to the business of running an empire.

Now Shimla is the capital of Himachel Pradesh and a popular holiday spot for honeymooners – yet you can still see remnants of the British Raj, such as the Gaiety Theatre and Viceregal Lodge.

The Kalka-Shimla railway line was built in 1903, which provided an alternative to taking a tonga over a bumpy cart road. Today, you can still take the narrow-gauge toy train from Kalka to Shimla and, if the skies are clear, you may even catch a glimpse of the Himalayas in the distance, stretching all the way to Kashmir and Tibet. (To get to Kalka, you can catch a train or bus from Delhi, than catch the connecting toy train.)

This 96 km journey takes four to six hours as it winds and climbs its way up into the forested hills through 103 tunnels – the longest of which is 1,143 metres through fissured sandstone – and across 864 bridges, including viaducts with multi-arched galleries. If you’re prone to motion sickness, bring along the Gravol, since the route includes 919 curves (the sharpest being 48 degrees) and climbs 656 metres to complete the journey in Shimla at 2,076 metres.

Photo Copyright @ 2010 VH Media

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