23 years ago on November 24, 1998 the first commercial passenger cable car was inaugurated by then prince of Nepal, Dipendra Shah. With Dipendra, his cousin brother, Paras Shah, was also present during the inauguration. After King Birendra and Prince Dipendra died in 2001, Paras shah became the new prince of Nepal.
Historical Photo credit – AP
The Manakamana Cable Car is located in Gorkha to access a temple, Manakamana Temple at a hill top. The gondola lift transportation technology was imported from Austria by a private company, head by L. B. Shrestha, Chitawon Construction and Engineering Group.
The Manakamana Cable car is 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) long. The path starts at the base station at the bank of Trishuli river. The destination station is beside the Manakamana Temple. The temple dates back to the 17th century and is one of the popular touristic and religious destination.
There are 31 cable cars for passengers and three more cars for cargo purpose. The average operating speeds is 13.4 miles (21.6 kilometers) per hour.
A Radio Nepal reporter, Laxmi Prasad Poudel, was there at the event and he remembers Prince Dipendra’s visit to the cable car. Poudel says, “At that time, all the bigger projects were inaugurated by the royal family members. Radio Nepal reporters were to accompany all royal visits. I had gone to various such programs. It was in 2055BS, I got the opportunity to go to the inauguration of cable car. Prince Dipendra and Prince Paras were invited. Then minister of communication, Chiranjivi Wagle was also present at the event. After the event, I got the oppurtunity to be in the cable car with Prince Dipendra. I was impressed by his smart, diplomatic and friendly behavior. That day, my view towards Prince Dipendra changed. Whatever others say, I had found him extremely likable.”