Ropeway in Nepal has been long recognized as a reliable and cost-effective way of transportation than roadways due to Nepal’s topographical condition and fragile mountainous environment.
The history of Ropeway in Nepal dates back to 95 years, and the first ropeway system in Nepal was built in 1924 in the regime of Shree 3 Chandra Shamsher. The ropeway was then built in order to speed up the palace construction process and the total length was just 4 km starting from Halchok mine to Lainchour.
Furthermore, the first cargo ropeway of Nepal was also built in the regime of Chandra Shamsher which was 22 km long and passed through Dhorsing-Chisapani-Kathmandu crossing Chandragiri. The ropeway was named in the name of King Tribhuvan and Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher Rana as “Tri Chandra Nepal Tara Ropeway” which started its service from 1927.
The same ropeway was further improved and extended to 42.3km to Hetauda in 1964 with the help of USAID and was once the vital medium of freight transportation between Terai and Kathmandu valley.
The ropeway system then was installed with bicable system (two continuous stationary track cables and two hauling ropes) supported by 280 steel towers. In order to regulate the carrier movement, the ropeway consisted of seven at Hetauda, Bhaise, Bhimphedi, Golfing Jurikhet, Naygaun Thaksing, and Kathmandu. The ropeway used to take about4 hours to transport goods from Hetauda to Kathmandu with a capacity of 22 tons of goods per day.
The downfall of such a convenient ropeway started upon the construction of Tribhuvan Highway in 1956 and also the mismanagement aided to the ruination of the ropeway. And finally, the ropeway completely halted its service in 1994. The ropeway last served Kathmandu in 1993, when both the Tribhuvan Highway and Prithvi Highway were washed away by the flood.
With the Government least concerned about restoring the service, mechanical equipment worth millions of rupees are going to squander while a significant number of the machinery parts have already been missing out.
Current Scenario and Future of Ropeway in Nepal
Built with the Austrian technology, the Manakamana cable car is the first and longest in the country, which is successfully being operated from the last two decades.The cable car was opened for the public in November 1998 and is 2.77 kilometers long.
Likewise, cable car projects are in the offing at Maulakalika Temple in Gaindakot of Nawalparasi district, Pathibhara holy shrine in Taplejung district, Swargadwari of Pyuthan district, and other religious and touristic places.
A mechanized bridge constructed in a cable-car model is also in operation over the Kaligandaki River connecting Kushma of Parbat district and Balewa of Baglung district.
An urban cable car is also in consideration in the Kathmandu Valley.
Similarly, if everything goes as planned, the country will also have its longest cable car from Birethanti of Kaski district to Muktinath, the holy place in Mustang district. Birethanti, one of the entry-points to the Annapurna region, is situated at an elevation of 1025 m, and Muktinath temple is situated at an altitude of about 3,800 m.