Barog Tunnel: Mysterious Haunted Secrets of Tunnel 33, 46 & 23 Shimla Holds Since 1816!
Sometimes the stories of so-called haunted places get mixed up so much that it sounds like a fairy tale. With the passing of words from one person to another and from one generation to the next, people keep adding their spices to it that fictional ghost stories sound more childish. One such legend is of the famous Barog Tunnel on the Kalka-Shimla railway.
An early morning train journey from Kalka to the erstwhile summer capital Shimla is one of the best things that most tourists enjoy. Located at a height of 2200m, famed by the name of the queen of hills, Shimla is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Set amidst the beautiful hills and mystical woods, the destination has been one of the most popular hill stations among Indian families for the last 50 years. The British loved them so much that shortly after the Anglo-Gurkha War in 1816 they came to settle here.
The city, by 1830 developed as a major base for the British, and by 1864, they declared Shimla as the summer capital. For making transportation easy, the British government laid the foundation of Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway in 1898.
The construction started in 1900 and completed within three years. Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India inaugurated the railway on November 9, 1903. After 100 years, the Indian government declares it as a heritage property. In 2008, the railway was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The railway covers a distance of about 100 km from Kalka and Shimla, passing mostly through the mountainous routes covering 18 stations, 864 bridges, and 102 tunnels. When it was built, the trains needed to pass through 20 stations and 107 operational tunnels.
Later two stations and five tunnels were discarded. It is these 102 tunnels, that are related to the ghost stories. But the funniest part is no one knows which tunnel for sure.
Barog, a small village, and 8th station on the way to Shimla from Kalka. It was named after an engineer, Colonel Barog, who was involved in laying the tracks of the railway. The famous haunted Tunnel 33 of the railway is just before Barog and it is said that Colonel was in charge of building the tunnel as well.
The fact that the railroad was built in three years, while the technology was still in its diapers, proves that it was completed in much hurry.
Spirit of Barog:
People have spread the rumours of the sightings of the spirit Colonel Barog lingering in the adjacent areas. People are sure about the tunnel to disguise some mysterious secrets and eerie in its silence. They claim the tunnel being very scary with its damp walls.
The 140 yards long tunnel has water dripping from its ceiling and after just a few steps, the tunnel gets very dark. The Indian government has tried its best in blocking the entrance of the tunnel with a metal door. However, the lock is broken for a long time and anyone can open the old creepy door and feel the eeriness. Why do people have sightings of Colonel Barog?
As per the legend, engineer Barog started digging Tunnel 33 from both sides of the mountain. Due to lack of satellites, and modern GPS systems, or radars, the alignments of both sides of the mountain were ensured with the expertise of the engineers’ calculations and measurements.
Tragically, the calculations and measurements provided by Barog proved to be incorrect and when the workers reached the centre of the mountain, it was realized that the tunnel was unaligned and dug two separate tunnels in different directions that went right past each other.
The British government highly criticized it, replacing Barog from his duties and charging a penalty of Rs.1. Locals claim Barog became the laugh of the town as well as the centre of all jokes of both the British officers and Indian workers.
Unable to cope up with the humiliation, one-day Barog walked into the tunnel and committed suicide by shooting himself. The body of the engineer was buried near the tunnel and the village was named after him.
However, the work did not stop there and carried on at a different site under the supervision of a Chief Engineer, H.S. Harrington, and a local sage, Bhalku. The tunnel that Barog dug was abandoned and Harrington dug up a new tunnel, which is known today as Tunnel 33.
This entire story gave birth to the most popular haunting story of the Kalka-Shimla railroad. As per the legend, Barog’s soul continues to haunt the tunnel that he could not finish, which eventually became the reason for his suicide.
He is believed to be a friendly ghost who never shy away from having a friendly chat with the local living. The soul told people that his soul is trapped into the tunnel and can never depart for his heavenly abode. People believe that if a person walked into the tunnel and yelled out his name, he answers the calls.
If the story ended here it would have been a little convincing. Someone dies in a place and haunts it forever, most of us have heard that before but it is not only the legend to the railroad. There are five different legends related to the hauntings, including one involving Barog.
Spirit of Werewolf:
The second legend is about a werewolf. It is said that the tunnel was abandoned for incomplete structuring and alignment by Barog., but due to several mysterious deaths of the local workers. It is said that several Indian workers and British officers were attacked and killed late at night by an animal.
People were dragged out of their tents during the night and were found next day half-eaten, which people believed to be an animal who roamed at night. Barog along with a hunting party also set out for hunting the animal and described the animal to be half-animal and half-wolf, standing over 7 feet straight on his legs.
This soon caught fire among the educated English class who claimed Barog to be psychologically unstable and was soon relieved from his duties, which led Barog to commit suicide.
Spirit of a Witch Clad:
The third legend claims the tunnel to be haunted by a witch clad in a white saree. Locals state that the witch to have red glowing eyes, which hypnotizes the local and takes them into the tunnel. Locals and tourists entering the tunnel under her spell never return.
Spirit of a Women in Black:
The fourth legend claims a woman in a black saree holding a child to her bosom and is believed that the woman is unaware of her death. If someone ran into her, she looks at the other person in disbelief with a look that seems to cry for help.
She looks into the child several times and later screams and vanishes into the tunnel’s walls. People claim the woman to be killed by a motorist near the tunnel while she was pregnant with her first baby.
Sinister Ghost of a Signal Man:
The fifth and the legend is of a sinister ghost of a signalman, who holds out a green light in his hands. He lures people into the tunnel waiving the green lantern and people following him and the light was never seen again. No one can tell about the murderous signalman.
The most interesting part of the stories is the tunnel changes every time these are told. For some, the haunted tunnel is Tunnel 33, before Barog, while to some others it is Tunnel 103, the last one on the route, just before Shimla. Some even claim it to be Tunnel 23, a few kilometres before Barog.
Some claim that the abandoned tunnels are haunted, and if to believe this, then it would be Tunnel 46, as the other four tunnels have long been collapsed as none used them for more than a century. The signboard indicates a tunnel Barog was building, which is a kilometre away from the current Tunnel 33. However, this would point to another different haunting site.
If you are interested in ghost hunting, the best way is to start walking from Kalka towards Shimla, following the tracks crossing all the tunnels on the way including those abandoned Tunnel 46 that would lead you to the other four discarded tunnels. Even the myth failed to provide specific information about the haunted tunnel and you will need to search all of them.
If you are going to do so, keep sheen eyes on the passing trains as the tunnels are narrow and if you are near a passing train, you might become a legend haunting and chasing the tourists.
Plan a Horror Night Next Time & Share the Stories Among Friends!