Hunger for knowledge discriminates us from the folks leading a “live to eat” life. We often don’t bother about the underlying facts of a particular object which proffers immense pleasure to your sense organs. But once you are diving deep into the mystery of the facts you only end up getting more curious and wanting to discover more.
You must have enjoyed a Darjeeling Himalayan Railway “joyride” more than once. Looping through the snaky mountain tracks at a slow speed and treating your eyes with the beautiful vistas of the cloud-capped mountains, green valleys often flanked by small fountains is a delight in itself. But have you ever wondered what made this iconic railway making its way into the league of UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
Let’s share some amazing facts of our favorite Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Facts That Is Unknown to the World
First Railway Cut through the Mountain Slopes in India
The oldest railway in India, DHR falls under the category of one of the oldest railways in the world. It covers almost 80 kilometers stretching from Siliguri to Darjeeling after it was constructed in 1881. The main purpose of establishing this railway was to provide easy access to the hills. Interestingly, the toy train still bears some features it had when it was set up almost 140 years ago. Next time you board the train keep your eyes open to observe the antiquity.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Well, you may know about this fact but have you ever wondered what makes it a world heritage site?
After GOI made an application to UNESCO to inscribe DHR as a world heritage site, it was awarded the status in the following year itself. Its efforts in setting up a rail link between the plain and the hill is a major citation. It is also an innovative example of a transport system developing the multicultural region both socially and economically. Also, DHR is visited from tourists all across the world.
Be it natural resources or manmade objects, everything has a history attached to it. When the DHR was being constructed, India was under British rule. In the year 1879, the project of building a 2 feet narrow gauge was initiated in an attempt to reduce the transportation costs of commodities (mainly rice) and to uplift the condition of local industries, especially of tea production. In the following year, eight steam locomotives arrived from Manchester, England. The train line was officially opened to the public and in 1881 for the first time, it carried 380 tons of goods and 8000 passengers. In the year 1891 Darjeeling station was revamped and also enlarged. After 5 years another station came up at Kurseong for the purpose of storage shedding. Year after year DHR was added with new features and facilities.
Eventually the year India attained freedom from the British rule saw a new concrete building replacing the wooden station at Darjeeling. The year 1948 is an important year in the history of the Darjeeling Himalayan railway. On 20th October of the same year, it was purchased by the Indian government and merged into the Indian Government Railway Station. In 1988 the line was closed due to prolonged civil unrest. The year 1999 was a milestone year for the Himalayan railway as it was proffered with the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 2018 two air-conditioned carriages were provided for the passengers who can’t beat the heat.
Ghoom is the Highest Railway Station in India
At an altitude of 7400 feet, Ghoom boasts of being the second-highest in the world and the highest railway station in India. It has the oldest baby engine. Ghoom provides easy access to several places that are well connected with this railway station. You can reach places such as Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Mirik and many more places from this junction.
Book In Advance
If you are on the lookout for a joyride to Darjeeling on a toy train, you must book your tickets much in advance. As it is a much-awaited ride for the tourists and it has fewer numbers of seats it gets filled up quite easily. Along with the well-known train journey, it also has got a few jungle safaris exclusively for the amazement of the wanderlusts.