1998: The Launch of a Cable Car Service in Nepal

November 24, 1998

The Manakamana Cable Car service in the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal was inaugurated. This gondola lift transportation system had been imported from Austria. (In that type of gondola lift transportation system, airborne cars supported and propelled by cables from above are used to carry passengers from one point to another.)

The Manakamana Cable Car service covers a total of 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) in a mountainous region between two stations: the base station in the village of Cheres in Bagmati Province; and — at a considerably higher altitude — the top station in the village of Manakamana in Gandaki Province. The latter of these two villages is the location for a Hindu temple that dates back to the 17th century and has become one of Nepal’s most popular shrines.

In the time since its official launch, this network of cable cars has been a regular means of transportation for numerous pilgrims and sightseers wishing to visit Manakamana Temple. The Manakamana Cable Car service specifically consists of 31 cars for passengers and another three for cargo. The average operating speeds for these cars is 13.4 miles (21.6 kilometers) per hour.  

In 2013, this system was the focus of a documentary directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velex of Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. This film, simply entitled Manakmana, was shot entirely from inside the cable cars as they made their way between the base and top stations. The documentary shows various groups of passengers engaged in such activities as admiring the scenery, taking selfies, playing instruments, and enjoying ice cream.

Photo Credit: Kabinder Magar (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

For more information on the Manakamana Cable Car service, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manakamana_Cable_Car

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