In what could give a boost to the spiritual tourism industry in India, Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu last week laid the foundation stone of an ambitious Rs 43,000 crore project to connect four historically significant Hindu shrines of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath with rail connectivity in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.
This initiative, as per the Railway minister, will facilitate travel for devotees and tourists even during adverse weather conditions.
What is the Char Dham rail link?
This ambitious railway connectivity in the Indian state of Uttarakhand is aimed at promoting pilgrimage as well as tourism with focus on economic development in the region. As per the plan, a single broad gauge rail line connectivity to the Char Dham will be laid to facilitate safe and comfortable travel. Approximately Rs 43,292 crore will be spent on this ambitious project. Besides, this project is being labelled as an engineering marvel as it seeks to connect far-flung areas aside from increasing opportunities for economic development.
Details of the Project
The total length of the rail link route is roughly 327 km with 21 new stations along the way. The rail link will also pass through at least 61 tunnels and nearly 59 bridges. The rail line will begin from from Doiwala near Dehradun for Gangotri and Yamunotri. As for Kedarnath and Badrinath, it will commence from Karnaprayag, all in the state of Uttarakhand. According to officials familiar with the development, the Doiwala-Gangotri railway line will be approximately 131 km in length.
Meanwhile, for Kedarnath, a 99-km rail link will be laid between Karnaprayag and Sonprayag. As for Badrinath, another 75 km long track will be laid between Karnaprayag and Joshimath.
In addition, railway reservation counters will be set up in Kedarnath and Badrinath in order to save residents of surrounding areas from the trouble of going all the way to the district headquarters to book a train ticket.
The good news is that a large chunk of the budget for the project will be spent on eco-friendly measures in the sensitive Himalayan ecosystem such environment conservation and prevent natural calamities such as landslides due to soil erosion.