Gulmarg Gondola opens for tourists this week after six months of shut down

Published on : Thursday, October 8, 2020

Gulmarg Gondola, which is one of Asia’s largest and highest cable cars encircled by pine forests and Himalayan mountain peaks in the ski resort of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir, has opened for tourists this week after it was shut for six months owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials said that tourists have started coming in amid Covid-19 protocols of social distancing and masks, for relishing the breathtaking beauty offered by the mountainous meadow. The first phase of the Gondola was opened for a day on September 27 on World Tourism Day and then it resumed daily operations from Saturday taking tourists to Kongdori Mountain at a height of 8,530 ft.

Assistant Manager Gulmarg Gondola Project, Fayaz Ahmad said, “We had decided to operate the Gondola on weekends but then the government decided to open the first phase everyday from Saturday,”

Ahmad said that tourists – both locals and visitors from different states of the country are dropping in. “On an average, around 50 people ride the ropeway every day. Over the weekend, the number was around 150. Around 30 percent of visitors were from different states of the country,” he said.

The Gondola shut down after the government imposed lockdown to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in mid-March. On normal days, the cable car records a daily footfall of 2000 to 3000 people fetching daily revenue of Rs. 35 to 40 lakh. Each ticket costs Rs. 740 per person for the first phase and Rs. 950 for the second phase which takes a person to a height of 12,293 ft.

Currently, Covid-19 protocols have been laid down to avoid overcrowding or close contact of visitors with each other. Instead of six in normal days, only three tourists are allowed to ride in a single Gondola car. Cabins are sanitized before and after boarding and de-boarding of passengers along with compulsory wearing of masks.

Ahmad said that the Gondola project was witnessing a slump since August 5, 2019. “Later Covid-19 shut it completely,” he said.

He hoped that the number of tourists would increase in the coming days.

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