Lumbini cable car project set to be operational by end of the monthThe project is eyeing both domestic and Indian tourists.
The construction of the Lumbini cable car which is being built targeting the domestic and Indian tourists and connecting the Tarai with the hills of Palpa, has reached its concluding phase and is likely to be operational by the end of May.
"Within the next two weeks, one can experience and view the plains, hills and mountains in a 10-minute cable car journey from Butwal,” said Gokul Saud, project manager of the Lumbini cable car project.
He said the construction work has been completed and a trial run is being conducted.
Constructed at an investment of Rs 3.5 billion, the base station of the cable car will be at Bamghat, Butwal Sub-Metropolitan and the top station will be at Basantapur, Tinau Rural Municipality-3, Palpa. For the cable car project, 75 percent of the investment is by IME Group and 25 percent is from the entrepreneurs from Butwal.
The process for the construction of the cable car project started in 2013 and the foundation stone was laid by KP Sharma Oli in February 2021.
“The construction of Kamakchyamai temple, restaurant, zip line, swimming pool and other structures too have been built,” Saud said. “The work is being done to make a religious destination in Basantapur by restructuring the Durgamata temple. Park, picnic spot and children's gardens have been constructed as well.”
The Lumbini cable car project has plans to build a five star hotel complex and other structures in the second phase.
A week-long puja (Saptha) will be held from May 26 to June 1 on the Basantapur Hill where a statue of God will be kept.
The cable car, which will operate under a single detachable gondola system, will transport 6,000 passengers daily in 24 gondolas, with a capacity of eight persons per gondola. There are nine cable car towers at a distance of about three kilometres. The government has granted 6.27 hectares of forest area for 25 years for the cable car operations.
Bamghat, where the Lumbini cable car base station is located, is the confluence of the Terai and the hills. Bamghat, which is at the foot of the hill, is at a distance of 29 km from the Belahiya border point. From Belahiya, the Gorakhpur town in India is 174 km away. The heat reaches its peak from April to September in India, Bhairahawa and Butwal. But one can feel cool and a chill after climbing Basantpur hill, which is within a 3 km distance by cable car and is reachable within 10 minutes.
Chandra Prasad Dhakal, chairman of Lumbini Cable Car and president of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry claimed that the top station of the cable car will become the best destination in Nepal to escape the heat of Bhairahawa and Butwal, including for people coming from India as well. Lumbini Cable Car is being operated under the leadership of IME Group, which is owned by Dhakal.
"We are moving forward to make the cable car and Basantapur an excellent tourist area to extend the stay of tourists coming from India to escape the heat and also for the tourists coming to Lumbini from different countries,” Dhakal said. The Lumbini cable car will also help promote tourism in Palpa and Pokhara and the proposed five-star hotel with 150 rooms and a casino will be built on the Basantapur Hill targeting both domestic and international tourists, he added.
The temperature in Basantapur Hill ranges between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius in summer. The hill districts like Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, Pyuthan, Syangja, and Tanahu, including mountains, can be viewed from the Basantapur hill. Also, if the weather is clear, Gorakhpur also becomes visible.
There is a temple of Siddha Baba which is considered to be the centre of religious faith in the region. Dal Bahadur Gurung, chairman of the Siddha Baba Area Development Committee, said that hundreds of years ago, the Siddha Baba Temple was located in Basantapur. Later, it was moved to near Siddhartha highway due to a lack of road access on the hill.
“The development of large structures around the religious and historical places will help the economic prosperity of the Butwal area,” Gurung added.