India'Where the British officer's soul wanders even today...' The story of Barog...

‘Where the British officer’s soul wanders even today…’ The story of Barog tunnel, considered India’s most ‘ghostly’


Highlights

  • The longest Barog tunnel is on the Kalka-Shimla railway line.
  • The tunnel was named after the British engineer Barog.
  • Engineer was fined due to wrong alignment of tunnel
  • Being hurt, Barog committed suicide at the mouth of the tunnel.

New Delhi
The Kalka-Shimla railway line in Himachal Pradesh is famous for its longest Barog tunnel. YouTubers and trekkers come here to see the closed tunnel and the grave of British engineer Barog. The city is named after him. It is said that Colonel Barog whose first name is not known to anyone, was in charge of the construction of Tunnel 33. It is a 3,752 feet long tunnel. They started digging it from both ends, but their alignment was wrong and the two parts were never found. This tunnel is now known as the Haunted Place. Local people also say that after the death of the engineer, unpleasant incidents started happening here. Many people claim that they also saw the spirit of Colonel Barog.

There was a fine of Re 1 for the delay!
It is said that Barog was criticized for not getting both the parts of the tunnel and he was fined one rupee. Hurt by this, he went with his dog to the mouth of the faulty tunnel and shot himself. It is said that he was buried. It is said that the tomb of Barog is also haunted. At least in the last 15 years no one has seen it. A team of UNESCO observers who tried to find it in 2007 returned disappointed but the story doesn’t end there. The place was named Barog in the memory of Col. It is believed that Barog lives there in the form of a ghost. Later, an Indian named Baba Bhalku helped British railway engineers with the correct alignment of the tunnel. He was honored by the Viceroy for his service. There is also a railway museum named after Bhalku in Shimla town.

Barog was mentioned even before the construction of the tunnel
It’s a great story waiting to be made into a film. However, there is a problem, even before the work on the tunnel started, Barog was called Barog. This excerpt from the Bombay Gazette of August 14, 1899 is attested: “A detailed and final inquiry has now been completed by Harrington (Chief Engineer) for the Shimla-Kalka Railway …. for the proposed alignment. Three important constructions would be required. This tunnel would be built at Koti Spur, Barog and Tara Devi. The construction of the Kalka-Shimla line did not begin until the summer of 1900. And Barog appears again in a report by an engineer dated May 25, 1900. First the sod of the mountain railway from Kalka to Shimla has just been diverted.

No mention of mistake, or delay
The same report says, ‘The tunnel work is being started, its construction will take two years to complete’. Therefore, if the tunnel began in May 1900, it could have ended in May–June 1902 at the earliest. A report of the Railway Engineer of December 1902 states that the two ‘ends’ of the Barog tunnel were found on October 24, 1902. Yes, the project missed the date, but even in December 1902 there was no feeling of anxiety or panic over the “delay”. Reports suggest that the work on the Barog tunnel was taking a long time due to natural obstacles. For example, it is constructed with sandstone. “The miners sometimes had to work amid floods of water.” Now, if the delay was due to wrong alignment, will the press shed light on it? Especially railways and engineering journals? Wrong alignment would have meant the loss of many months, if not years, of hard work.

Bhalku Baba was created with the Sixth Sense?
There are such things that Bhalku Baba had completed this tunnel project with his sixth sense. However, news reports at the time suggest that it was a technically advanced operation. In its May 11, 1901 issue, Indian Engineering talks about a “powerful compressed-air plant now being commissioned” at the Barog Tunnel. 19 months later, the railway engineer of December 1902 confirmed. Tunneling was only half the job. The tunnel also had to be lined with masonry. Three years after the start of work on the tunnel, the Bombay Gazette of June 15, 1903, said, “The masonry of the Great Barog Tunnel is completely completed, but its length is 500 feet.” Bhalku Baba’s name does not appear even once in these. It is unlikely that the press would have refused to credit him simply because he was not white. It is a very good story to suppress racial prejudice that Baba was the one who decided the alignment of a railway tunnel.

silence is visible on the colonel
The deadline of the Kalka-Shimla Railway was October 1903. Passenger services on it started on 9 November 1903. There was no delay. The Barog Tunnel was completed within the overall project schedule. Coming back to Colonel Barog, is it possible that his “mistake” didn’t bother the project at all? Also, why are there no reports about his suicide in the newspapers since that time? A British colonel killing himself in India would have been a big deal. It would have been reported not only in India but also in the UK and Australia. Yet, you do not find mention of Colonel Barog anywhere. His name is not even in the project plan. Others are listed in charge of work in Barog, Dharampur and Solan. Hence the question is, how real is the ghost of Barog?

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