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Pir Panjal Range
About Pir Panjal Range

The Pir Panjal Range is a group of mountains in the Inner Himalayan region, running from east-southeast (ESE) to west-northwest (WNW) across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and the disputed territories comprising Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Azad Kashmir, where the average altitude varies from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 4,100 m (13,500 ft). The Himalayas show a gradual elevation towards the Dhauldhar and Pir Panjal ranges.

The Pir Panjal Range starts in Ramban and extends westward in the south of Jammu and Kashmir (Vale of Kashmir) to the last extremity of Muzaffarabad District. It is 288 km long. Its width changes between 40 and 50 km. Six historical passes, Hajipir Pass, Gulabgarh Pass, Ratanpir Pass, Pir Panjal Pass, Banihal Pass, and Bairam Gala Pass are in this mountain range. The highest mountain range is Tattakoti. Its elevation is 15,524 feet (4,732 m). The height of this range near Gulmarg is 12,500 feet (3,800 m) high.

Pir Panjal is the largest range of the lower Himalayas. It separates itself from the Himalayas near the bank of the Sutlej river and forms a divide between the rivers Beas and Ravi on one side and the Chenab on the other. The well-known Galliat and Murree mountains are also located in this range.

Pīr Panjāl Range is part of the western Punjab Himalayas, lying in northwestern India and northern Pakistan and it extends southeastward for more than 200 mi (320 km) from the Kishanganga to the upper Beās river. It rises sharply to an average altitude of more than 13,000 ft , it separates the Jammu Hills to the south from the valley of Kashmir, beyond which lie the Great Himalayas. The main passes through the range include the Pīr Panjāl (11,462 ft) and Banihāl (8,985 ft); a highway channel near Banihāl Pass makes the Vale of Kashmir accessible to traffic from the south, even in winter. The mountains extending to the north of the Kishanganga River in Pakistan are sometimes considered part of the range.


The Pir Panjal pass lies to the west of Srinagar. The Banihal pass (2,832 m (9,291 ft)) lies at the head of the Jhelum river at the southern end of the Kashmir valley. Banihal and Qazigund lie on either side of the pass.The Sinthan pass connects Jammu and Kashmir with Kishtwar. Pir ki Gali connects Kashmir valley with Rajouri and Poonch via Mughal road. Pir ki Gali is the highest point of Mughal road which is about 11500 ft and lies to the south west of the Kashmir valley. Nearest town to Pir Ki Gali is Shupian which is the apple town of Kashmir valley.

Munawar pass lies in the North of Pir ki Gali and over looks the town of Rajouri. Munawar pass observes some of the heaviest fighting during Operation Gibraltar and was seized by a Pakistani Force commanded by Major Malik Munawar Khan Awan SJ who later seized Indian Garrison of Rajouri. The pass was named after him by the locals.

Rohtang La (altitude 3,978 m (13,051 ft)) is a mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal range which connects Manali in the Kullu Valley to Keylong in the Lahaul Valley. Haji Pir Pass lies at an elevation of 2,637 m (8,652 ft) on the western Pir Panjal range on the road between Poonch and Uri is in the area of Kashmir administered by Pakistan.


Deo Tibba (6,001 m (19,688 ft)) and Indrasan (6,221 m (20,410 ft)) are two important peaks at the eastern end of the mountain range. They can be approached from both the Parvati-Beas Valley (Kulu District) and the Chandra (Upper Chenab) Valley (Lahaul and Spiti District) in Himachal Pradesh. The hill station of Gulmarg in Kashmir lies in this range.


Road tunnels

Rohtang road tunnel
Rohtang tunnel is being built under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway. It has a length of 8.8 km , the tunnel will be the longest road tunnel in India and is expected to reduce the distance between Manaliand Keylong by about 60 km . The tunnel is at 3,100 metres elevation whereas the Rohtang pass is at 3,978 metres elevation. This is one of the two routes to Ladakh, it lies on the Manali-Leh axis.

New Banihal road tunnel
Construction of a new 8.45 km long twin-tube Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel was started in 2011. The new tunnel is at a lower elevation than the existing Jawahar tunnel and when completed it would reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km. It would also be less prone to snow avalanche as it will be at a lower elevation.

Existing Banihal road tunnel
A 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long tunnel through Pir Panjal mountain under the Banihal pass connects Banihal with Qazigund on the other side of the mountain. The tunnel named Jawahar tunnel, it was founded in early 1950s and commissioned in December 1956 to ensure snow-free passage throughout the year. It is at an altitude of about 2,100 m (6,900 ft). It was designed for 150 vehicles per day but now used by more than 7,000 vehicles per day. Therefore a new wider and longer tunnel has been planned at a lower elevation.

Banihal railway tunnel
The Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel is an 11.215 kms railway tunnel which passes through the Pir Panjal Range in Jammu and Kashmir. It connects Banihal and Quazigund and is a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway project. The tunnel was commissioned on 26 June 2013 for regular service. It is India's longest and Asia's second longest railway tunnel.



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