There are more than 7,000 stations on the Indian Railways network, whose contiguous network stretches right the way from Katra in Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari at Tamil Nadu’s southern tip. At least 21 of them, as you’re about to discover, have names that might just bring a smile to your face.
Locals’ interpretation of the English accent during the Raj is apparently the reason behind Moth’s unusual name, which doesn’t exactly conjure images of romantic train travel. But if you fancy making the trip, you can get here on direct trains from Varanasi and Lucknow.
It may be located in a remote corner of Rajasthan – about two hours north-west of Udaipur, in fact – but you can travel all the way to Mumbai from dear-old Nana on the Aravali Express, though stopping off at 22 other stations in between.
The only thing separating Bhojo from London mayor Boris Johnson’s nickname is the silent ‘h’. Incidentally, there aren’t too many Indian train stations positioned further away from London owing to Bhojo’s location in eastern Assam.
With its grassy platforms, freely roaming goats and eight regular train services – all of which call at Guwahati, Assam’s largest city – Titabar station, which is within reach of 19 tea plantations, is as far away from a seedy gentlemen’s evening venue as can be imagined.
Positioned beside the Western Ghats in southern Karnataka, Donigal makes for a particularly pretty stop – prettier even than its Irish counterpart – on the line between Bengaluru and Mangaluru (or Bangalore and Mangalore).
16. Wankaner Junction
Located in deepest Gujarat, Wankaner Junction is a station name you feel compelled to whisper rather than say out loud. It’s possible to catch a direct train all the way to Trivandrum Central from here – a journey of more than 40 hours.
Rather than taking its name from the Brazilian musical genre, Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba is believed to be named after the local Sambyal Rajputs. Its station is served by direct trains that dance their way to Delhi, Kolkata and Pune.
14. Clutterbuck Ganj
This suburban Bareilly station is commonly referred to as C.B. Ganj, but its non-acronym version – which may be a nod to Sir Alexander Clutterbuck, Britain’s High Commissioner to India between 1955 and 1959 – is far superior.
13. Dum Dum Junction
Surely this suburban station in Kolkata is an onomatopoeic tribute to that most romantic of train noises. And because two Dum Dums are better than one, there’s a Kolkata Metro station of the same name next-door.
Essentially an X-rated version of Dum Dum, it’s worth noting that this station serves the Andhra Pradesh Cumbum, not the Tamil Nadu Cumbum. Trains from here run all the way to Goa, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
“Did you mean: Dubai”? No Google, I didn’t. When I wrote “Dibai” – as in the administrative town in north-west Uttar Pradesh from where you can take direct trains to Agra and Bareilly – I meant it.
It’s not exactly easy buying a ticket for Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta at the station – you’ll have to attempt to say the longest name on India’s railway network, after all. If you fancy having a go, you can break it down like this: Venkata Narasimha Raju vari Bahadur vari Peta. Easy.
We couldn’t feature India’s longest train station name without including its shortest – a distinction given to Ib station in northern Odisha, which takes its name from the nearby Ib River.
8. Mysore Junction
The full name of Mysore’s station is something of an unfortunate double entendre. With direct trains to Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi and Bengaluru, there’s nothing painful about its connections.
Located about 100 km south of Goa on the blissful shores of the Arabian Sea, the Konkan Railway’s Manki station is far from manky. Interestingly, the village it serves lays claim to being the second largest in India.
Most of us have been there: you arrive at the station in a rush and clamber aboard what you think is the right train moments before it pulls away, only to realise that you’ve scored an own goal – ahem – by getting on completely the wrong one. Such a scenario is an apt possibility at Ongole station in Andhra Pradesh, which accommodates some 147 separate rail services.
According to the Mirror, the world’s most powerful pet – which is apparently measured by the number followers on social media – is Boo the Pomeranian dog. The other Powerpet, namely the train station kind, is found in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh.
4. Manmad Junction
It makes a man mad when his train is late. Should such an unfortunate scenario arise at Manmad Junction in Maharashtra there is, at least, plenty to keep him entertained – like vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants, a book shop and a retiring room.
If you’re catching the train to Hampi from Goa, you’ll pass through Unkal station a few minutes before stopping at Hubli Junction – whereupon you should send a picture to your uncle via the magic of social media. Especially if he likes trains.
It may sound like something between a sci-fi weapon and a post-punk band, but Raybag – located in remote northern Karnataka – is more associated with sugarcane and bananas. Some 21 trains pass through its station, including services to Goa, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
With its surrounding tea estates, hills, rivers and forests, it’s only a matter of time until tourists discover Margherita in far-eastern Assam. Rather than the pizza or the cocktail, the town is named after Princess Margherita of Savoy, Italy’s queen consort at the turn 20th century – not for anything she did specifically, but as a sign of appreciation for Italian engineer Chevalier R Paganini, who oversaw the construction of the local railway that then terminated here. Today it runs to Ledo, two stations and 7 km down the line.