Thanks to a cable car project, the picturesque Patnitop tourist resort is all set to regain the glory and hustle-bustle it lost after it fell off the the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway route due to construction of the Chenani-Nashri tunnel. The 2.8-km eco-friendly project, which was planned about 15 years ago to boost tourism in the Jammu region, has been completed by Empyrean Skyview Projects Private Limited in collaboration with a French company on a Public-Private Partnership model at a cost of Rs 150 crore. Despite the challenging terrain, the ropeway project was completed in a record time of 2.5 years after the work was initiated and maybe dedicated to the nation any time soon.
“We are ready for a soft launch and waiting for the final approval from the government...With the inauguration of the cable car, I am sure that this region will emerge as one of the major tourist attractions in the country,” Skyview Managing Director Syed Junaid Altaf said.
Situated at an altitude of 2,024 meters (6,640 feet), the hilltop tourist destination in Udhampur district witnessed a decreases in footfall as commuters preferred to take the shorter Chenani-Nashri tunnel route on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
The 9.28-km Chenani-Nashri tunnel, opened in Arpil 2017, reduced the distance between the two capital cities by 30 kms and travel time by two hours, bypassing destinations like Patnitop, Kud and Batote.
The lower terminal of the project is at Sanget, three kilometres from the Chenani-Nashri tunnel while the upper terminal is at Patnitop. The ropeway is easily accessible by the tourists.
The places which are in proximity to the lower terminal station at Sanget are Sudh Mahadev, Gauri Kund and Mantalai, all having religious significance, while localities such as Nathatop, Madhatop and Sanasar are near the upper terminal at Patnitop.
“Over the past week, a preview ride was undertaken for the locals including schoolchildren and tourist players to showcase the project,” Altaf said, adding besides the cable car ride, Patnitop will offer several other facilities like the country’s first magic carpet and tubing sledge besides zip line.
He said the cable car project will definitely give boost to tourism activities in Patnitop which has a lot to offer for people of all ages.
“This is a family destination and our idea is to satisfy everyone, from a six-year-old to a 65-year-old. The ropeway is located in the middle of breathtaking locations which will get connected once the cable car starts its commercial operational,” said Altaf, the Skyview MD.
The firm’s sales and marketing head Syed Ali Jafary said the haul rope has a diameter of 52-mm and project is spread over 11 acres, which includes 10 acres at the lower terminal and one acre at the upper terminal.
He said the ropeway features 18 cable cars along with eight towers.
“Skyview Patnitop brings its visitor to one of India’s highest and longest ropeways soaring over 65 meters from the ground with longest span of 849 meters between the eight towers,” he said.
The entire infrastructure, including the towers, ropes and cabins, has been imported from France through the support of Empyrean Skyview Project Limited’s technology partner POMA, that deals in ropeway transportation.
He said each cabin can carry eight people with the capability of 600 per hour. The one-way journey takes about 10 minutes (round trip 20 minutes), excluding the waiting time at the terminals.
He also said adventure seekers can look forward to a series of 9 zigzag zip wires measuring 580 meters with a starting altitude 1,344 meters and ending altitude of 1,371 meters from the sea level.
“All-season secure and fun activity on the artificial grass for children and adults with innovation guarantees pure pleasure either alone or with friends. The tube starts at an altitude of 1,366 meters and ends at an altitude of 1,329 meters from the sea level and features 238 meters of slopes,” he said, talking about tubing sledge.
He said the Magic Carpet is a lift or a rocky mountain conveyor system to access numerous activities.