Despite being a developing country, India is ahead of many developed countries in some respects. For example, the world’s most extended railway platform, the world’s tallest statue, and the world’s longest highway tunnel are located in India. You must have heard stories of many tunnels in your childhood, but the Tunnel we are going to talk about today is extraordinary and exciting. Yes, we are talking about the Atal Tunnel- the longest highway tunnel in the world.

The practice of tunneling has been going on in India since ancient times. Some caves of India are unique specimens of architecture, such as Ajanta, Ellora, and Elephanta caves. In ancient times some tunnels were natural, some were human-made. People used to use the Tunnel for residence and penance at that time. In the medieval period, tunnels were constructed to save kings and queens during the war. In the modern era, tunnels are increasing the country’s security, prosperity, and tourism.

Keeping this in view, the ‘Atal Tunnel’ equipped with state-of-the-art technology has been constructed in India. The name of the Atal Tunnel was ‘Rohtang Tunnel’. Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji changed its name to ‘Atal Tunnel’ in honor of former Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Bajpai. This Tunnel is dedicated to former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Bajpai Ji.

Atal Tunnel: The Longest Highway Tunnel in the World

The dream of constructing the Rohtang Tunnel was dreamed by the first female Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indra Gandhi. But the credit for realizing this dream goes to former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Bajpai. The foundation stone of this Tunnel was laid in 2002 by then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Bajpai.

Even though the foundation stone of the Atal Tunnel was done in 2002, its construction work started in 2010. After the construction work began in 2010, it was completed in 2020 after ten years. It has cost about 3200 crores to make it. Fifteen thousand tons of steel have been used to make this Tunnel. The Atal Tunnel, prepared by the hard work of 1000 workers and 150 engineers, is an example for countries worldwide. This great Tunnel was inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 3 October 2020 with his auspicious hands.

Built under the Rohtang Pass at an altitude of 10,000 feet in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, this Tunnel is a unique example of engineering. The length of the Atal tunnel is 9.2 km, and the width is 10.5 meters. You can also walk on a 1-meter footpath on the sides of the road in the Tunnel.

From the point of view of security, it has robust security arrangements in the Atal Tunnel. A tunnel has also been constructed below the Atal tunnel to avoid emergencies. To exit in an emergency, an entrance gate has been made every five hundred meters of the Atal Tunnel to enter this lower Tunnel. In case of emergency, you can move out through this lower Tunnel.

Beneficial Things to Know

There are fire extinguishers at every 60 meters and telephones at a distance of 150 meters. So that contact can be established in an emergency. There are CCTV cameras installed at a distance of 250m. In addition, there are AQI automatic machines at every 1-kilometer distance to check air quality.

The Atal Tunnel’s main objective is to bring overall development in the country’s security and prosperity. Before the Atal Tunnel, the Lahaul Spiti Valley had disconnection from the rest of the country for six months of the year. Because of heavy snowfall for six months, it blocks the maximum roads with snow. And in these months, the only means to go here was by helicopter previously. But after building the Atal tunnel, Manali and Lahaul Spiti valley have an excellent connection to each other for twelve months of the year. Due to the construction of this Tunnel, the distance between Manali and Leh is now 46 kilometers less than previously. And travel time is also four to five hours less now. Through this Tunnel, the movement of 3000 cars and 1500 trucks will be possible daily at a maximum speed of 80 kilometers.

The construction of this Tunnel will increase our military strength. Kargil’s army’s movement and logistics supply will be readily available through the Atal Tunnel. In addition, due to the construction of this Tunnel, people will get employment. The Atal Tunnel, resembling a horseshoe, is the longest two-lane road tunnel globally. In terms of the safety of the people traveling in this Tunnel, military security, and economic progress, this Tunnel has met all standards.

The organization that plays a vital role in the construction

Atal tunnel construction has been completed on a war footing in the operation of the Border Roads Organization (BRO). The structure of this Tunnel was offered to the Austrian joint venture company Strabag, and AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, an Indian construction company of Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Both these companies have built this dream project with hard work and dedication in operating BRO. These companies have completed many complex projects in India with excellent efficiency.

Tourism and Attraction

After talking about security and prosperity, let’s find out the importance and utility of this Tunnel in the field of tourism. If we see the importance of the Atal tunnel from the point of view of tourism, then this Tunnel is an essential route for overall development in the field of tourism. Tourists from Manali to Leh will now reach their destination quickly in a short time. And also, it would easily be accessible without any heavy jam on the way.

Atal tunnel is undoubtedly one of the most delicate structures on Indian soil. And, it is undoubtedly the beginning of other mega structures coming our way. But, the beauty of the Atal tunnel is not just in the number and facilities, but more than the usefulness it provides to locals, tourists, and armed forces around that area.

In the view of traveling nearby the Atal Tunnel, there are a variety of tourist spots nearby that make this place most alluring. Kullu & Manali are on the way when traveling from Delhi. Both locations have a natural beauty full of greenery and hills where you can make a stay when traveling for more than a day. Keylong also may be a good destination if looking for sightseeing around the Atal Tunnel. Also, it would be easy to hire a taxi in Dharamshala at affordable rates.