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Tourists stranded for hours on Gulmarg ropeway

Gulmarg, February 20, 2008:

Women cried for help and young boys, restless in fear, behaved like girls when over 100 people were hanging over the cables of Gulmarg Gondola, the world's highest cable car for three hours due to a mechanical failure, Tuesday evening.

The ski resort Gulmarg is hosting fifth Indian winter games this week

Narain Kumar, a tourist from south Indian city of Bangalore said, "This has been one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I thought this is the end of world for me and my family.

"All of us were stuck in the car for three long hours. My wife and three children could not bear the chilling cold. Hanging at such a height for so long cannot be a nice experience."

While the cable cars were being parked at 3:30 pm one of the maintenance cars got stuck and resulted in breaking a part of the mechanism on the Kongdoori part, the Phase I of the cable car of Gondola. The cable cars resumed functioning after 6.20 pm.

An official of Gulmarg Gondola, B Jamali who too was stranded said, "One of our maintenance cables cars got stuck which caused a mechanical breakdown of the entire system."

The passengers inside the cars were panicky as fixing the fault took 3 hours. The freezing temperatures of around minus 10 degree Celsius further complicate matters.

The cars have no heating system.

Stanzin Collin, a foreign tourist said, "I have not seen such mismanagement anywhere else. I was stuck for such a long time. Now no taxi driver is ready to take me to Srinagar."

The Gulmarg Gondola, as the ropeway is known, ferry skiers, tourists and locals to Affarwat, an area close to the ceasefire line at a height of 4,390 m above sea level.

Gulmarg is a world famous tourist resort situated just 55 km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir.

It is the most visited tourist attraction of Kashmir valley and is famous for its ski slopes, huge meadows and pony tracks that offer a pleasure horse ride and the Gulmarg Gondola.



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