If you've been planning a trip to Bhutan but gave up mid-way just because of poor railway connectivity to the beautiful country, then you're in luck! Revive those plans as travelling to Bhutan is going to become a hell lot easier. How, you ask? A direct railway link between India and Bhutan is becoming a reality soon.
Currently, the only commute options from India are:
But now, travelling by railways is going to become way more convenient. A survey has been commissioned by the Indian Railways to link the Mujnai-Nyoenpaling line in order to provide a cross-border rail link between India and Bhutan.
For the purpose of the survey, a team from the Indian Railways will be visiting Bhutan in order to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will, in turn, enable the export of railway ballast from Bhutan to India. According to the various media reports doing the rounds, designation of new transit customs railway stations at Pandu, Jogighopa and Agartala has been discussed and things are progressing well.
So, what are you waiting for? Make an itinerary already! Here are a few suggestions on the four places that you MUST visit when in Bhutan. These are: Thimphu, Paro Punakha (these three require a permit) and Phuentsholing, which you can explore without the permit as well.
Out of the six neighbouring countries that India has land connectivity with--Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, China and Pakistan, the only one with which we have a passenger train connection is Bangladesh. Surprising right? Various economic projects are also progressing at a very slow rate because of the poor connectivity. Hopefully, there will be a surge in tourism to Bhutan soon--thanks to this fresh railway link!
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