India’s first and longest ropeway will connect Mumbai with the Elephanta Island in the Arabian Sea.
The proposed 8-km long ropeway will be constructed by the Mumbai Port Trust.
The proposed ropeway
- The proposed ropeway will start from Sewri in Mumbai’s east coast and end at Raigad district’s Elephanta Island
- The approximately 40-minute ride by a 20-seater cable car, with a transit station midway will prove to be a major boost to tourism
- From the main jetty, tourists can hop aboard a toy train which takes them to the base of the hill, a distance of around 600 metres, for the climb up to the caves complex
- Elephanta Island is globally renowned for Elephanta Caves, which is a Unesco World Heritage site
- Known locally as Gharapuri Caves, the small 16 sq. km island has several archaeological remains pointing to its rich cultural heritage, including the famous temples carved out of rocks
- There has been evidence of settlement on the island from 2nd century BC, but the rock-cut temples are believed to have been constructed around 5th-6th century AD
- For nearly three decades, the island hosts the famed two-day Elephanta Cultural Festival in winters, organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, attracting the best of performers
- Overnight stay is not permitted for outsiders on the island which has a thick forest, and a dam to conserve freshwater collected during monsoons. Two British-era canons rest atop a hill on the island, which offer great view of the mainland and Mumbai on the eastern side.
- The island is accessible only by ferries from the mainland or motor launches from the Gateway of India, and it takes around an hour for the 10-km cruise from Mumbai and vice versa
The proposed ropeway will offer a magnificent view of mudflats on the east coast, which come alive during the flamingo season, the mangroves and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link to the north.
Currently, around 5,000 domestic and foreign tourists visit the island, inhabited by around 1,200 residents, which are mainly fisher folk and farmers, in three tiny port villages called Rajbandar, Shentbandar and Morabandar.