After more than three years of discussion, the about 66-million-year-old Gilbert Hill in Andheri (West) will eventually receive a lift, enabling locals and visitors to ascend to the 200-foot monolithic column for stunning city views.
A Rs 5 crore money has been authorised by the District Planning and Development Council (DPDC) for the Mumbai suburbia zone to build a capsule lift.
“We have been following this up since 2019 and finally the DPDC has sanctioned funds for the Gilbert Hill lift. Now the public works department (PWD) will float tenders and work is expected to start soon. This will play a big role in promoting Gilbert Hill as a tourist destination. We will ensure that all heritage norms are followed and there is no damage to the structure. Funds of Rs 5 crore have been sanctioned by the DPDC for the lift and the elevator deck," said Ameet Satam, BJP MLA from Andheri (West).
The prehistoric site might become one of the most popular sites in the city, according to officials, if the elevator is installed. Currently, there are about 250 steps leading up the hill to the well-known Gaondevi Temple.
The capsule lift and deck, according to a senior government official, will cost about Rs 5 crore. “The cost will also cover some beautification of the spot. In 2019, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) had given an in-principle approval. So all permissions are in place and we can assure that the lift will not affect the structure. Once the work order is issued, it will take about three months for the lift to be thrown open to the public. The exact details of the type of elevator are being worked out, but it will be a capsule lift that allows visitors panoramic views of the city," the official said.
Gilbert Hill includes a few temples and a tiny garden atop it, making it maybe the oldest heritage monument in the nation in its original form. The hilltop gives a breathtaking perspective over the city’s suburbs, and these can be reached via a steep staircase carved into the rock. According to Satam, who has been advocating for the lift on the hill, it will revolutionise the travel industry.
“This is such an important natural wonder right in our city. The lift will enable tourists to reach the hilltop, visit the temple there. We have asked the PWD to ensure that the lift doesn’t mar the heritage character of the hill," Satam said.
“If more people visit the hill and it develops into a major tourist attraction, it will ensure that it remains protected. Earlier we had pushed the state government to cover the hill with a metal net to prevent loose rocks from tumbling down," Satam said.
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