India’s first and longest ropeway is planned to be constructed by the Mumbai Port Trust to link Mumbai with the famous Elephanta Island in the Arabian Sea. Elephanta Island has got global recognition for its famed Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 8-km long ropeway will start from Sewri in Mumbai’s east coast and end at Elephanta Island at Raigad district.
The 40-minute ride by a 20-seater cable car is expected to boost tourism as it offers a magnificent view of mudflats on the east coast especially during the flamingo season, the mangroves as well as the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link to the north.
At present, the islands are accessible only by ferries from the mainland and takes around an hour for the 10-km cruise. Other details like the cable height and capacity of cars are being worked out.
Elephanta Island is a 16 sq. km island that has several archaeological remains famous for its cave sculptures. The island is locally known as Gharapuri Caves. It is located in Mumbai Harbour, east of Mumbai, Maharashtra. The island is believed to be inhabited from 2nd century BC but the famous temples carved out of rocks are believed to have been constructed around 5th-6th century AD. The island has a dam to conserve freshwater collected during monsoons and two British-era canons atop a hill that offers a panoramic view of Mumbai. The much famed two-day Elephanta Cultural Festival is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in winters.
At present, the island is inhabited by around 1,200 residents. The inhabitants are mostly fisherfolk and farmers who live in three tiny port villages called Rajbandar, Shentbandar and Morabandar. Tourists, however, are not permitted to have an overnight stay at the island as it is covered with thick forests.