Himalayan Queen - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Himalayan Queen

#1 Aug 12th, 2013, 07:06
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#1
Hi Everyone,

I signed up to IndiaMike some months ago, and have quietly been trawling my way through all of the very useful information on this site. This is my first post. Thank you to all contributors of this site!

I am traveling to India for the first time this December 2013 with my husband. It is our first overseas trip so heading to India from New Zealand is a very big deal! Lots of research and preparation going on currently.

I have a general question regarding the Himalayan Queen train, and I cant seem to find the answer on a previous post, so am positing here. However I appreciate if someone can direct me to the appropriate area

Is it safe to take the Himalayan Queen train in winter in Northern India (mid-late December)? I gather there will be large snowfall, so is it recommended to take this train trip at this time of year?

Thank you
#2 Aug 12th, 2013, 09:03
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#2
Hi Jennifer,

Welcome to the forum and its great to hear that you have planned your first trip to India soon! You have chosen the perfect time - December is usually a great time to travel throughout India.

With regards to your query about the Himalayan Queen - the train moves up from Delhi till the foothills of Shimla (Kalka). The route is pretty but the altitude isn't much, and the chances of snowfall along the route are rare/minimal. Yes, there have been the odd rare instances of snowfall that low but they are aberrations (last year there had been snowfall in Pathankot, which was unheard of, but that was only for a day and did not disrupt normal life beyond minor inconvenience!)

It should be perfectly fine to board the train in mid December - in fact the snow does not usually come down even in Narkanda/Kufri (higher reaches of Shimla) until a little later. There might be some sporadic aberrations causing snowfall maybe in end November/early December but again it would only be for the one off day and are not likely to cause any real disruption in travel.

If you have any more queries, fire away!

WIsh you a safe journey and a pleasant stay in India.
Some of my ramblings!

http://windowtoindia.me
#3 Aug 12th, 2013, 13:14
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Thank you for your help Sidch, we really appreciate it.
#4 Aug 12th, 2013, 13:25
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Hi Sidch,
If you wouldn't mind to answer, I have another question

After taking a trip on the Himalayan Queen to Shimla, we are looking to journey back down to Agra and then around Rajasthan. Do we need to catch the Himalayan Queen back down to Delhi and then from Delhi to Agra, or is there another line back down, so that we can take a different path back down from Shimla to say Jaipur, Jaipur to Agra? Thank you
#5 Aug 12th, 2013, 13:30
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Jennifer

The only rail connection to Shimla is the line up from Kalka. If you have a choice of which train to get between Kalka and Shimla the Shivalik Deluxe is a much better option than the Himalayan Queen.
#6 Aug 12th, 2013, 14:52
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Hi Dave
Could you expand on that a bit more? We are not necessarily looking for luxury travel, we are pretty keen to be adventurous.
#7 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:01
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The Himalayan Queen is actually two trains. The broad gauge one from Delhi to Kalka and then the narrow gauge one from Kalka to Shimla. You have to book each leg separately.

A chair car on the Himalayan Queen seats 30 people - on the Shivalik Deluxe the same size of coach seats 18 but the price difference is negligible. It's hardly luxury but any fool can be uncomfortable. If adventure is what you are looking for take the Kalka Mail overnight from Old Delhi tp Kalka and then the Shivalik up to Kalka.

Here's a bit about it from our blog http://radinja2.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...r-lutyens.html http://radinja2.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...-and-away.html

We did the downhill trip on the Himalayan Queen which was purgatory even for a rail nut.
#8 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Tobin View Post we are looking to journey back down to Agra and then around Rajasthan. Do we need to catch the Himalayan Queen back down to Delhi and then from Delhi to Agra
If your plan is to go to Agra or Jaipur after Shimla, then take the toy train to Kalka and from Kalka another bus to Ambala. From Ambala you have trains going to Agra and Jaipur. I think it would be better if you could get a bus for Ambala from Shimla.
#9 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:21
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Thanks Dave. Yep I was aware it was two trains, thank you for your post it is very helpful. Did you find Shimla very exciting? I read your blog which is very cool, and I see that they refer to Shimla as the honeymoon captial, why is this? Thanks
#10 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:23
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Hi Jennifer_Tobin,

I agree with Dave_W. If you are planning to go to Simla, then reach Kalka station from New Delhi, and then catch SHIVALIK DELUXE toy train. There are 2 toy trains in Kalka-Simla route - 1) Himalayan Queen ; 2) Shivalik Deluxe. The 2nd one is better than the first.

Check this link for a good article: http://goindia.about.com/od/rail/p/kalka-shimla.htm

The 97 Km route is in UNESCO world heritage list.

Also, echoing with Dave, Himalayan Queen has 2 trains in same name (but diff. train no.), one from New Delhi - Kalka (broad gauge), and the other from Kalka to Simla (this is toy train).

Fare is not much different between the two toy trains, and Shivalik includes breakfast (Indian food though) within the ticket fare.

In case you are planning to enjoy snow in December, then Manali is a better place than Simla which is more crowded. Also, nearby places to Simla such as Kufri, Chail, Mashobra would be more serene and with lesser tourist rush.
#11 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:28
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Thank you for those kind words. My spelling is usually better than that! I wouldn't necessarily call Shimla exciting. We were 2 weeks into our trip and ready for somewhere with a bit less hustle and bustle than you find in most Indian cities. The lack of traffic and litter was a big plus for us. We were only there for a couple of days and found enough in the town to keep us interested without doing any excursions but I believe that there are plenty of these.

As regards the 'Honeymoon Capital' it is just something that I read somewhere that stuck in my mind. It quite often crops up on India Mike as a potential honeymoon destination. Try a google search of 'shimla honeymoon'.
#12 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:34
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Tobin View Post Thanks Dave.
I see that they refer to Shimla as the honeymoon captial, why is this? Thanks
Honeymoon capital and disco palace hotels with tiger blankets.
In December you will see mooners for sure.
#13 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:41
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#13
Manali probably gets more honeymooners
#14 Aug 12th, 2013, 15:46
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There is a little bit more information about the Kalka -Shi mla line in the first post on this thread. http://www.indiamike.com/india/india...india-t197779/
#15 Jun 20th, 2014, 06:28
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#15
Hi,

Does the Himalayan Queen train have toilets in the coaches?

Thanks!

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