The train journey from Banihal to Srinagar in the Jammu and Kashmir region and vice versa is one of the most spectacular experiences in India. The beauty is further more enhanced by the thrilling passageway across the longest railway tunnel in India. Yes, it is the Pir Panjal tunnel, a pride of India’s heritage and architectural marvel.
Presenting an elevation of about 5770 feet, the tunnel offers a captivating experience for the tourists travelling via the train. You will need almost 9 and a half minutes to traverse through the tunnel, a unique feeling of its kind. The construction of the tunnel has placed India in higher rank among the super powers of the world in terms of its valuable civil assets. Such is its popularity that tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir have been desperate to include it in their itinerary.
The Unique Characteristics of the tunnel
The fascinating tunnel speaks about the enormous effort and appreciable talents of construction designers, engineers and workers. Their massive initiative resulted in the creation of one of the enchanting marvels in India’s engineering and architectural history.
It took almost 7 years of tireless design and construction activities for coming up with the 11.2 km long tunnel. The natural beauty of the Pir Panjal mountain range coupled with the adventurous trip through the tunnel is a memorable experience to be cherished.
The tunnel has conveniently established an efficient communication and transportation mechanism between Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India. Especially during the snowfall in winters, it is extremely difficult to operate in the region. Locals are stranded and are unable to commute elsewhere. The tunnel has significantly contributed to increasing the lifestyle of the locals. Besides, tourists from different parts of India can enjoy the astonishing beauty of the region, while boarding the train through the tunnel.
The History behind the construction of the tunnel
The tunnel was built between the years 2005 and 2013 by HCC. The engineers and designers leveraged the newly invented tunnelling method from Austria for the construction. This was essential to overcome the geographical challenges present in the region. The Banihal region comprises of 8 layers of strata beneath the earth’s crust. To create a boring and dig a tunnel in such a region involved careful planning and drilling techniques. But the objective was achieved by relentless effort of skilled architects and construction specialists.
The importance of the tunnel is that it is not only the longest railway tunnel of India but the second longest railway tunnel in Asia. The tunnel has enabled tourists to overcome the rugged mountain stretches conveniently. It has created an opportunity for travellers and nature admirers to venture into the panoramic landscape of the Banihal region. No doubt the region has experienced an influx of tourists to engulf into the mystic beauty of the wonderland.
How to reach the tunnel?
The best way to reach the tunnel is to first travel towards Banihal. From Udhampur or Jammu Tawai, you can hire a cab or board a bus to reach Banihal by road. Once there, you can board the train for an exhilarating journey through the mountain terrain and the thrilling tunnel pathway.
The tunnel has been constructed with care and following all the safety standards. There is no dearth of protection inside the tunnel since it’s waterproof and well equipped for fighting any kind of fire hazards.
Tourists normally visit Jammu Kashmir region during the summers when the weather is pleasant and soothing. The train journey provides a stunning experience of the natural wonders of the region. The tunnel further enhances the thrilling nature of the wondrous rail trip.
The tunnel has been a boon to the locals who move out for work and study to different parts of the city and state. They can easily return back to their home without spending overnights or encountering long journeys through difficult roads. The heavy snowfall in the region during the winters also do not cause any hindrance in availing the train and moving across the tunnel.
Tourists have termed the journey as very comfortable and convenient, allowing them to immerse into the astonishing beauty of Mother Nature. They can also plan their trips with ease, covering maximum destinations within a shorter frame of time.
Pir Panjal railway tunnel is indeed India’s pride and proclaims its high dignity.