Srinagar, June 11 – The scorching sun in the Indian plains has come handy for the World’s highest Cable Car project at Gulmarg in Kashmir. In just one week, it recorded a turn over of around Rs.7 million.
With mercury soaring in entire north India, thousands of tourists are visiting the Kashmir Valley to escape sweltering conditions even though summer capital Srinagar also witnessed hottest day of the season at 34.4 degrees Celsius Sunday. However, as tourists keep thronging the resort, Gulmarg kept tempers cool with the maximum temperature of just 23 degrees.
‘Besides the bewitching beauty and cool temperatures of Gulmarg, the five kilometre long gondola ride on Gulmarg-Afarwat hills is chief attraction,’ said Farooq Ahmad Shah, Kashmir’s director for tourism.
‘The (Gulmarg) gondola made a revenue of Rs.60 million last year and we have set a target of Rs.100 million this year,’ Shah said.
‘We charge Rs.700 for the entire to and fro ride from Gulmarg to Afarwat Hills and for children below 10 years, the rates are half.’
Gulmarg Gondola is the World’s highest Cable Car at 13,400 feet above the sea level.
‘We are also planning the World’s highest restaurant at Afarwat Hills at 14,000 feet where we have the World’s highest ski point,’ the tourist official said.
Besides the high profile Cable car project, local traders – including the pony-owners who take the tourists on joy rides through the meadows in Gulmarg – are also doing brisk business these days.
‘The place is wonderful and the people here are very courteous. It is a dream vacation for me and my family,’ said Sanjay Kholsa, 46, who has come here with his wife and two kids from Mumbai.