It will be one splendid flight above the rest, literally. India's largest ropeway is getting ready in Mumbai. It will connect Sewri in east Mumbai with Elephanta Caves in Raigad district over the sea.
The eight-km ropeway will charge Rs 500 from Indian nationals and double the amount from foreigners. A one-way trip will take 14 minutes. The cable cars will be able to seat 30 people each. As part of the project, eight to 11 cable relay towers, of heights varying from 50 to 150 m height will be erected on the seabed.
The Mumbai Port Trust is supervising the construction of the ropeway. The project envisages a city tower station that would consist of a viewing gallery, glass-base restaurant, and entertainment deck.
The ropeway rides would be conceptualized in such a way that it would be enjoyable to people of all age-groups.
The ferry trip from Mumbai to the famed Elephanta Caves would take over an hour now. The ropeway would reduce the commute time by 40 minutes. Some 10 lakh tourists visit Elephanta Island and the Elephanta caves every year. The island was reportedly inhabited from the 2nd century BC. But the archaeologically famed rock-cut Elephanta Caves were constructed by mid-5th to 6th Centuries AD.
The Unesco site describes Elephanta rock work as coming from a ‘long tradition of Indian art’ but one that demonstrates ‘refreshing innovation.’
The caves, listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site for its ‘combination of aesthetic beauty and sculptural art,’ are preserved in its natural settings.
The major threats faced by the caves include salinity intrusion and general deterioration of the rock surface.
The ropeway project ran into rough weather in January when the ASI refused permission for the ropeway landing on the island. The Mumbai Port Trust then promised that the landing would not be on the island but in the ‘intertidal area.’ For this, the Mumbai Port trust Chairman held several rounds of talks with the ASI and the Union Ministry of Culture. The Mumbai Port Trust now expects to get all statutory clearances soon and finish the work by October 2022. The total project outlay is Rs. 700 crore.