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6 May 2018

Cable-car ripples near Changu .... Ropeway adds to list of attractions for tourists near Sikkim lake

The cable car that has come up near Changu Lake in Sikkim. Telegraph picture 
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, May 06, 2018, somgo (East Sikkim): A cable car that climbs to 14,500 feet on the snow-covered slopes near Changu Lake is fast becoming a major attraction for tourists to Sikkim.

Built after an almost a decade-long struggle, the Tsomgo Passenger Ropeway started operation in July 2017.

In a short span of less than a year, the ropeway has become an added attraction for tourists visiting Tsomgo Lake, which over the years has become a tourism hotspot of the Himalayan state.

Tsomgo is about 40 kilometres from Gangtok and 15 kilometres short of Nathula, the border pass between India and China, which has become a must-visit for tourists in Sikkim.

Given the fact that Tsomgo -Nathula is designated as a sensitive nature area, tourists need a special permit to visit the rugged mountain terrain which for better part of the year is covered with snow.

K. B. Gurung, the local partner of the company that built and operates the ropeway, said people are drawn to the cable car service because of what they get to see on the upper station of the ropeway. "The upper station opens up to a flattish hillock from where you, on a clear day, can get a majestic view of the Kanchenjungha mountain. Even if the weather is not clear, the visitors have a whale of a time playing with the snowflakes. The Tsomgo ropeway at its upper point is the highest ropeway in Asia," he said.

On Saturday, scores of people were seen taking a ride on the ropeway. "We feel like we are in Europe. This is incredibly beautiful," said Tribhuvan Prakash Dubey, a visitor from Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

" Aisa jaga hamara India may hai (such a place exist in our country)," chimed Ashok Purohit. Both Dubey and Purohit are police officers from Gujarat and were in Sikkim to spend their holidays with their families.

"To set foot on snow after descending from the cable car is incredible. We have a ropeway in Nepal that takes you to the Manokamana temple (in Gorkha district), but this short ride is wonderful," said Ram Kesar Bogati, the president of Nepal Film Artistes' Association.

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