NEW DELHI: To connect the Chardham pilgrimage centres, the Indian Railways is all set to begin the final location survey for a single broad gauge line rail connectivity for the Chardham Pilgrimage.
Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Railways has been entrusted to undertake the Final Location Survey for rail connectivity to Chardham and Chardham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath & Kedarnath via Dehradun & Karanprayag) in the State of Uttarakhand.
As alignment will pass through the rugged mountainous terrain of mighty Himalayas, the Railway has to meet the challenges of railway construction integrating the unique challenges of the terrain and adverse geology along with limits of load, capacity, safety and speed.
The four Dhams have their varied and distinctive elevation levels along with unique spiritual significance. The Yamunotri tracing the origin of River Yamuna is situated at 3293 m above Mean Sea Level (MSL) while the Gangotri tracing the origin of River Ganga is situated at 3408 m above MSL.
The Kedarnath housing the Shrine of Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas at 3583 m above MSL, while Badrinath housing the Shrine of Lord Vishnu is at 3133 m above MSL.
The existing railheads or the nearest railway stations to the proposed Chardham connectivity are Doiwala, Rishikesh and Karanprayag (on the upcoming Rishikesh-Karanprayag new rail line under construction by RVNL) at mean MSL ranging from 400-825 m. The proposed Chardham rail line connecting to 2000 m MSL and above will be an engineering challenging feat.
As per the Reconnaissance Survey the total route length is 327 km at estimated cost of Rs. 43,292 Cr. The REC Survey recommends 21 new stations, 61 tunnels totaling to 279 km tunnel length and 59 bridges. The alignment will have ruling gradient of 1 in 80 with a maximum degree of curvature of 5 degree.
Chardham, is one of the unique cornerstones of Hindu pilgrimage which is intertwined to mystical and spiritual aspirations of every devout Hindu. Large number of pilgrims flock to Chardham while foreign and domestic tourist are attracted to trekking & sightseeing in the state of Uttarakhand.