India may be famous for its bustling city streets, but its countryside could not be more different. As you venture enroute, it seems impossible that so much variety could be packed into one country. From the south’s tropical beaches to the north’s magnificent temples, expect the unexpected when riding the Himsagar Express. India is more enriching than you could ever imagine.
What to know
Taking you from India’s southernmost region to its northernmost, the Himsagar Express takes around 72 hours. Your journey starts in the coastal town of Kanyakumari and ends in Katra, a village situated in the lower Himalayas. The Himsagar Express runs weekly and to catch the reverse train, look out for the number 16318.
You can find the full list of stations and stop-offs here. Please keep in mind that this specific train service only halts for a few minutes at each stop until it reaches its final destination. Whilst there are some incredible places to see along the way, this may make planning your journey less straightforward.
There are 19 coaches aboard: including 1 Second AC (2A), 2 Third AC (3A), and 10 Sleeper Class (SL). Whilst there is also an unreserved class, these coaches are almost always overcrowded, noisy and humid. Getting your tickets ahead of schedule is therefore recommended, and can be booked as far back as 120 days in advance.
Adult tickets for SL, 3A and 2A cost ₹1005, ₹2625, and ₹3970 respectively — but booking the day before your journey costs an extra ₹160. This means that your train expenses will cost somewhere between roughly €11 to €46.
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Planning your trip
Whilst the Himsagar Express provides hot meals and e-Catering (a selection of pre-ordered meals), you should pack plenty of your own food anyway. As with any long journey, you will want to wear comfortable clothing and have activities that can keep you busy. Charging points are available but may not always be accessible, and so you will want to bring a book or two just in case.
Regarding when to visit, India’s most favourable months are December to February. Whilst the climate varies throughout the country, this is an ideal time for planning a train journey through India for the most consistent and pleasant weather.
In 72 hours, the Himsagar Express halts at over 70 stops. Here are 5 suggestions on where this train journey could take you from start to finish.
See Kanyakumari from Dawn to Dusk
Stop-off point: Kanniyakumari railway station.
Kanyakumari is where your journey begins, but its qualities go beyond its convenience. Locals and travellers have been charmed for centuries by its scenic beaches, but what makes this place extra special are its sunrise and sunsets. Due to its unique location in the southernmost tip of India, you can see this occur at the same time.
Cross South India’s Gateway to Island Getaways
Stop-off point: Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station.
Home to mesmerising landscapes, Thiruvananthapuram is the ideal springboard onto luxury stays by the sea. But its temples and museums are alluring in their own right, particularly the Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. All that glitters in this temple is gold, as it just so happens to be the richest in the world.
Snap A Photo of One of The World’s Seven Wonders
Stop-off point: Agra Cantonment Station.
Considered to be one of the greatest architectural achievements ever, the Taj Mahal is simply astonishing. It would be amiss to travel all this way without seeing India’s most famous landmark in person…
Go Sightseeing in India’s Capital
Stop-off point: New Delhi railway station.
Before reaching solitude in Jammu and Kashmir, the Himsagar Express first takes you through the buzzing capital of New Delhi. Having built itself 8 times over, New Delhi is bursting with energy and activities. From shopping sprees to spice markets, a day in this city never feels dull.
Step into Paradise in Jammu and Kashmir
Stop-off point: Jammu station or Katra station.
After a long journey on-board no sight is more welcomed than the final stop. Fortunately for you, Jammu and Kashmir’s rolling hills are like a dream come true. Hikers and nature-lovers will be pleased to know that there is no shortage of spots for taking in this view… not when there are over 100 hiking trails worth exploring. But if you would rather rest up somewhere that is not a sleeper train, then consider staying at one of the few critically acclaimed hotels on offer in either the quiet town of Katra, or the winter capital Jammu City.