The country’s second cable car system, the Thankot-Chandragiri line, is almost ready to take off. “If everything goes according to the plan the Nepali New Year (Baisakh 1) is going to be remarkable,” says Kathmandu Fun Park Director Ambika Prasad Paudel.
Owned and developed by Kathmandu Fun Park, the base of this new recreational transportation system is located at Thankot, 16 kms from Kathmandu, about 31 minutes away by car, making it an ideal one-day getaway. A seven kilometre drivable rough road takes one to the hill-top, while for trekkers it takes up to three hours to get there.
“The cable-car will immensely help to shorten that trip and allow visitors a quick ticket to some of the best jaw-dropping views available so near the valley,” proclaims Paudel.
Situated at 2540 metres above sea level, the top of the hill provides unobstructed view of the high Himalayas, Terai plains as well as the entire Kathmandu valley. The cable-car was due to launch in Dashain last year but the April 25 earthquake and India blockade delayed its opening. Built using technology and expertise from one of the world’s top cable car building companies, Doppelmayr of Austria, the project was registered six years ago with an estimated cost of Rs 3.25 billion. Paudel says the costs could go up by 10 percent due to the delays. Rs 90 million has been invested to reconstruct Bhaleshwor temple nearby.
The cable car’s starting station is spread over six hectares of land and the top base station, which the company has leased from the government, totals 36 hectares. Paudel hopes for payback of the investment in seven or nine years.
With an estimated one million tourists, both domestic and international, arriving in Kathmandu annually, there should be rich pickings for the Fun Park. “We hope to extend the stay of at least 30 to 40 percent of these visitors to the valley by bringing them here. This will help our tourism sector too,” says Paudel.
The cable car will employ more than 300 and the construction of a planned hotel will take employment levels to 500 with locals also benefitting from the development.
And further plans are afoot to make the area into an all round tourist and shopping destination. Kathmandu Fun Park plans to develop the site into an integrated entertainment place by adding attractions like a boutique hotel, a mini-amusement park, rock-climbing, zip flying, paragliding, a 6D theatre and a botanical garden, as well as branded shops.