India has built quite some marvels in its vast hill regions, amongst its scenic landscapes and snow-capped mountains. Be it the recent Umling La Pass in Ladakh which is the world’s highest motorable road at an altitude of 19,024 feet and also received the Guinness World Record recognition or the Railway’s ambitious Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line. Another wonder on the list is Asia’s Highest and Longest Cable Car Project – the Gulmarg Gondola in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The adventurous ride holds the second position in the world rankings as well.
The cable car is situated in one of the country’s most beautiful tourist spots – Gulmarg, in the district of Baramulla of Jammu and Kashmir. Cradled in the western Himalayan range of Pir Panjal, its scenic beauty is as mesmerizing as the meaning of its name – field of bloom. Trekking, golfing and mountain biking are other sought-after tourist activities in the area. A joint initiative by the state government and Pomagalski – a French firm, the ride is at a height of 4,200 meters and is to and fro from Kongdoori Mountain and the Afarwat peak. It is said to carry more than 600 passengers both ways within an hour.
The first phase of the project was constructed in 1998 and the second phase was completed in 2005. Gulmarg Gondola was given over to the public on May 25, 2008, and is now managed by the Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Operations. Open from 10 AM to 5 PM owing to weather conditions, the ropeway is the only one in Asia to be built at a height of 13,500 feet above sea level. It operates in two phases.
The first is at 2,600 meters elevation of the Gulmarg Resort from where it picks the tourists and transporters and takes them to the Kongdoori station. An interesting fact about the Kongdoori valley is the shape of a bowl. Currently completing its 16th year, the project is an important economical installation for the state.