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Ten top Indian rail journeys

Earlier this year Monisha Rajesh travelled the length and breadth of India by train – here she highlights some of the most spectacular routes. Also read her hints and tips on how to navigate the Indian rail network

From Wes Anderson and Danny Boyle to Michael Palin and Paul Theroux, Indian Railways have entranced dreamers, intrigued authors and inspired filmmakers. That’s because there’s no other railway like them on Earth.

With 18 million daily passengers, 1.4 million employees and 17,000 trains operating on 64,000 kilometres of track, it’s a locomotive pick and mix of sizes, speeds, shapes and colours – and that’s just the passengers.

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Algiers, north Africa’s white lady

Few travellers visit Algeria these days but the country’s capital – famous for its brilliant light – has a beauty that belies its recent violent history

Isn’t is strange that a gigantic country with some of the most beautiful coastline on Earth, a luminous hinterland of mountains vast and deserts idle, crowned with the most alluring capital city I know, should be just three hours from London and almost unvisited by travellers?

We used to go: well-to-do Victorians loved wintering in Algeria. But modernity has been cruel to this great gorgeous land, and even by the standards of war-torn Africa, Algeria’s is an awful story. We associate it with the violent end of French colonialism, civil war in the 90s that cost up to 200,000 lives, and sporadic terror attacks. But this is a gross underestimation of a magical place, and a delightful and beguiling people.

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