Patnitop ropeway starts commercial operations

The Patnitop ropeway in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday started weekend commercial operations after being closed for over six months due to coronavirus pandemic.

The Empyrean Skyview Project is India’s highest ropeway in terms of ground clearance of over 65 meters and the largest Indo-French collaboration in mountain infrastructure development. It  was built in a record time of 2.4 years under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, officials said.

The ropeway started its commercial operations on July 20 last year.

“Empyrean’s vision of creating a world-class integrated mountain tourism infrastructure destination is now open once again to welcome visitors. Skyview Patnitop is sure to drive tourism to this unexplored paradise with its clean air, unique landscape, endemic flora and wildlife, biodiversity and the timeless local culture and history,” Managing Director, Empyrean Skyview Projects, Syed Junaid Altaf said.

“Skyview Patnitop is an ideal getaway for tourists who visit nearby Katra for religious tourism and for those looking to combine or extend their stay in Patnitop. In addition to onsite and offsite activities at Skyview Patnitop, there are several places to sightsee and explore, namely Sanasar, Nathatop and temples such as the 600 year-old Naag Mandir and other ancient places of worship,” he said.

A spokesperson of the Skyview Patnitop said during the lockdown, the site was comprehensively audited for COVID preparedness by SGS – the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

“A COVID-ready compliance certificate of safety was issued by them to Empyrean Skyview Projects Private Limited (ESPPL) just before the reopening, making it a safe destination for all visitors,” he said, assuring that all necessary precautionary measures in accordance with the SoPs like online bookings, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitisation routines have been put in place to tackle the challenges posed by the infection.

The spokesperson said the ropeway will remain functional on the weekends till November 30.

For those who love outdoors, new offsite activities such as hiking, mountain biking and birding in the surrounding hills are being introduced, he added.