This is going to be a small article, but before that I need to tell you something about Kerala. You may be from India or from another country and if you are a traveler, then definitely you might have heard about Kerala. I know what is going into your mind now, it will be the picturesque tea plantations of Munnar, the backwaters of Alleppey, the serene beaches of Kovalam, the painted streets of Old Kochi or the wildlife of Thekkady. This is how Kerala is being projected in the tourism map.
But there are places in Kerala that are still not explored much by the travelers. Especially the northern part of Kerala called Malabar region which includes the districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod.
If you are a person who wants to step outside of the usual places and wants to experience something unique, then I would recommend visiting Malabar.
Since I come from this part of the state, I would like to show you things the way I have seen and experienced.
This time I am introducing a train journey that most of you have not heard about. There is nothing special about this journey, it doesn’t take you to any prominent tourist place. But it will show you the unseen villages and the untouched beauty of the land and people of this state.
Train journeys were always my favorite. India has a vast network of railway lines and it is the best way to see the country. Some train journeys are a completely different experience like the Nilgiri mountain railway, which is one of the UNESCO heritage railway in India between Mettupalayam and Ooty. Also, another experience I had was the train journey to Rameshwaram, the 2 km long Pamban bridge built over the sea is an engineering marvel. And this time it is Shornur to Nilambur train journey.
There is a railway line in the district of Malappuram, that’s generally described as “Green Tunnel”. You would have already got an idea how this railway line may be. Once you board the train from Shornur Junction, you can see nothing but the greenery on both sides. This railway line is a single line (usual tracks are double line in India) between Shornur Junction and Nilambur road. It is a 60 km journey, that will generally take about 2 hours. This is one of the shortest broad gauge railway lines in India.
The railway line throughout is covered by trees, mostly teak. Just imagine you going through a tunnel, not the usual one, but trees lining both sides of the track. You should be careful to put your head outside, the branches of the trees can scratch your face.
Shornur to Nilambur railway line becomes more beautiful during the monsoon, when the vast stretches of paddy fields fill with waters, when the rivers overflow and when nature become greener.
During my college time, I used to travel in this train quite often. After a long time, I boarded the train again. Sitting on the footboards, as I used to do, watching everything going backward as the train moved, time gradually slipped and dragged me to old memories.
The railway stations on the Shornur to Nilambur track is the highlight of the journey. They are modest and romantic. All these stations has that old charm in them. Unlike normal stations, the roofs of the stations are nothing but long line of banyan trees. The stations like Cherukara, Vadanamkurussi etc are something worth seeing. They look much prettier in the monsoons.
When the British ruled India, they had a big teak plantation in Nilambur in the Malappuram district of Kerala. This railway line was built during that period to transport the timber. The route was closed after independence but by 1953, opened again. Some of the railway stations still have that colonial architecture influences.
Shornur to Nilambur train: How to?
Shornur junction is one of the biggest railway stations in Kerala. All the trains from the central part of Kerala (from Kochi) towards the north (Calicut) will pass through Shornur Junction. It is not difficult to reach Shornur from any part of the country by train.
There are several passenger trains and one express train running between Shoranur to Nilambur. It is better to take a passenger train, that will be less crowded.
Shornur to Nilambur train timings
The first passenger train starts at 07.00 hours from Shornur Junction. There are trains at 09.20, 11.20, 15.05, 17.05 and 19.30 hours towards Nilambur.
The train timings from Nilambur road are 06.50, 09.10, 11.15, 14.55, 17.00, 21.10, 20.40 hours.
Few things to know before boarding the train
If you don’t have much plans in Nilambur, then you can take the same train that will return after a few minutes from Nilambur back to Shornur. But I would suggest you to spend a day or two in Nilambur. There are many places to visit in Nilambur. The teak plantation itself is the biggest attraction. It has the world’s oldest teak tree.
Nilambur is a part of the Western Ghats, so forests, waterfalls and mountains are not scarce here. Also from Nilambur, you can take a bus and reach Ooty.
Otherwise, after visiting Nilambur, you can travel to Calicut and explore the Malabar region of Kerala. As I said before these parts of Kerala are very less explored. The culture, traditions, language and food are completely different from the South and Central Kerala.
Hope you liked the post. Let me know your feedback.
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