Last updated: January 19, 2023, 1:01 PM IST
Gilbert Hill has a small garden and a few temples on top.
Officials who have advocated for the lift on the hill claim the move will completely change the tourism industry. In its original form, Gilbert Hill is one of the oldest heritage monuments in the country
After more than three years of discussion, the approximately 66-million-year-old Gilbert Hill in Andheri (West) will finally receive a lift, allowing locals and visitors to climb to the 60-meter-tall monolithic column for sweeping views of the city.
A Rs 5 crore of money has been approved by the District Planning and Development Council (DPDC) for suburbs of Mumbai to build a capsule lift.
“We have been following this up since 2019 and eventually the DPDC approved money for the Gilbert Hill lift. Now the Rijkswaterstaat (PWD) will issue tenders and the 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 standards are adhered to and that no damage occurs to the structure. Funds of Rs 5 crore have been sanctioned by the DPDC for the elevator and elevator deck,” said Ameet Satam, BJP MLA from Andheri (West).
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The prehistoric site could become one of the most popular sites in the city if the elevator is installed, according to officials. Currently, about 250 steps lead up the hill to the well-known Gaondevi Temple.
The capsule elevator and deck will cost around Rs 5 crore, according to a senior government official. “The cost also covers some beautification of the place. In 2019, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) had given approval in principle. So all permissions are in place and we can assure that the lift has no influence on the construction. After the work order has been issued, it will take approximately three months before the lift can be opened to the public. The exact details of the type of elevator are being worked out, but it will be a capsule elevator that will provide visitors with a panoramic view of the city,” the official said.
Gilbert Hill contains a few temples and a small garden on top of it, making it perhaps the oldest heritage monument in the nation in its original form. The hilltop offers breathtaking views over the outskirts of the city, and these can be reached via a steep staircase carved into the rock. According to Satam, who advocates for the lift on the hill, it will revolutionize the travel industry.
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“This is such an important natural wonder in the middle of our city. The elevator allows tourists to reach the hilltop and visit the temple there. We have asked the PWD to ensure that the lift does not affect the historic character of the hill,” Satam said.
“If more people visit the hill and it becomes a major tourist attraction, it will ensure that it remains protected. Earlier, we had urged the state government to cover the hill with a metal net to prevent loose stones from falling down,” Satam said.
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