In the coming months, tourists will be able to travel in Himachal Pradesh on-board vistadome buses inside Rohtang tunnel.
Reportedly, the Rohtang Tunnel, named as Atal Tunnel, in the memory of former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is due to be inaugurated next month.
The above announcement was made by Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on the Independence Day function in Kullu. A news daily reported him saying that Rohtang tunnel was former PM Vajpayee’s vision, and it will be dedicated to India this September by the current PM Narendra Modi.
The Rohtang tunnel project was announced by Mr Vajpayee on June 3, 2000. It is said that he had a special liking for Himachal Pradesh, especially Kullu-Manali, which he considered as his second home.
Vistadome buses will have a glass rooftop for full views of the mountains around. The buses will run through the 8.8 km tunnel, constructed between Manali and Leh at a height of 3000 m above sea level.
The tunnel would cost INR 32000 crore, and will reduce the 474 km distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km. Thus, the journey which previously took 8 hours will only take around 5.5 hours.
Several trains run by the Indian Railways across the hilly regions already have vistadome coaches. While the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Kangra Valley Railway, Kalka-Shimla Railway, and Matheran Hill are known for trains running with vistadome coaches, the railways had earlier announced its decision to equip all mountain trains with vistadome coaches to offer panoramic views of the valleys.