Barog tunnel is the longest tunnel on the Kalka-Shimla railway line in Himachal Pradesh. The Kalka-Shimla Railway, by the way, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a place of great tourist attraction. Barog Tunnel is tunnel number 33 en route to Shimla.Some people visit the tunnel for its beauty, some for its extraordinary length and some to get a sight of the ghost of Colonel Barog as the tunnel is also counted amongst the haunted places in India. The hill station Barog, the Barog Tunnel and the Barog Railway Station have been named after Colonel Barog, the British railway engineer who was initially given the responsibility of constructing the tunnel, as a tribute to his efforts.
So, how do you reach the Barog Tunnel?
To visit the Barog Tunnel, the first and foremost requirement is of reaching the Barog railway station. There are two possible ways of reaching the Barog railway station, by train and by road.
By train, all you need to do is to get a ticket reservedfor Barog Station and hop on the toy train that connects Kalka and Shimla, moving through the picturesque Shivaliks. Hop off when the destination arrives and there you see, right in-front you, in the direction of your leaving train is the Barog Tunnel.
By road, you can take a bus of the State Transport either from Chandigarh or Kalka and get a seat reserved till Barog. When you get off the bus at Barog, you will get to know that in order to reach the Barog station, you will have to take another local bus to the village, Glog. Yeah, the Barog station is not situated in Barog but Glog which is, given the mountainous terrain, right next to but at a lower altitude than Barog. From where the bus drops you off, there is a narrow pathway which takes you directly to the station. The incline of the pathway is initially quite steep, which is why wearing shoes is highly recommended and after some ten to fifteen meters, the walk becomes comfortable with mountainous vegetation along the way and houses of local residents who are forever ready to help the confused tourist. Once you reach the Barog Station, the BarogTunnel is, again, right in front of you at the end of the station. Seems like a little too much of effort, but it is worth it. This walk prepares you for something bigger.
At the Barog Railway Station, standing in front of the Barog Tunnel:
There is board standing right in front of the tunnel. It provides for vital information regarding the tunnel and its construction. It tells you that the tunnel was made under the supervision of engineer H. S. Harington and guidance of a local hermit popularly known as Baba Balku. A museum dedicated to him is situated in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. But, wait, what? What did Colonel Barog do then?
When you take a few steps backward from the tunnel towards the platform, you’ll notice a small board mentioning the old Barog tunnel. You will get confused there. On enquiring with the railway staff and locals, you will get to know the real story, which is also summarized on the aforementioned board.
The Old Barog Tunnel:
The old Barog Tunnel is situated about one kilometer away from the present tunnel at a higher altitude. Unfortunately, when the construction was going on, Colonel Barog committed suicide. It is said that the two ends of the tunnel did not meet due to which a fine of one rupee was imposed on him by the British Government. He found the incident very humiliating and made a decision of ending his life. After the mishap, the present tunnel got constructed and the old tunnel got abandoned.The area is‘strictly prohibited’for visitors. Colonel Barog was buried near the unfinished tunnel. Some locals claim to have seen his ghost, sometimes with a dog. Spooky…..
The trek is a different experience altogether. This is that ‘something bigger’ I was talking about. The trekking pathway connects the villages Barog and Glog. It starts from the Barog Railway Station and ends in Barog. It is a short, direct and an adventurous way to reach Barog. Along the pathway trees have been marked with sign boards and marks so that tourists don’t get lost in the woods. Albeit that, it is advisable to take the help of locals when in confusion.The whole footpath is surrounded by indigenous shrubs and trees and some houses of the local people. If you are travelling with friends, the fun increases manifold and if luck is in your favor fluffy mountain dogs may also come following you, accompanying you throughout your trek. When you reach the other end of the pathway, do try some coffee and noodles at a small vending shop that a very cute couple runs if you have time. You will want to have more.
Your trip to the Barog Tunnel ends there, but there is more to the mountains than we think we know. The serenity of mountains and the simplicity of the locals touch your hearts. Just take out some time from your boring daily routine and explore the mountains, go to Barog. From Barog, you could either travel higher to other hill stations for more adventure or return home rejuvenated. Spend some time with nature and you’ll definitely notice a difference in yourself. That’s the beauty of travelling, isn’t it? Exploring ourselves with new places is a special feeling…..
Also read for other less crowded travel destination!
P.S. – Wear shoes, comfortable clothes that allow maximum physical movement and do keep a track of the weather. You don’t want to get stuck in a hailstorm!Sunidhi Singh
Author: Sunidhi Singh, Bhilai, Chhattisgarh