The design of the upcoming skywalk with glass floor, in Sikkim, has got the approval from concerned authorities, paving the way for floating the bids for construction of the unique project.
Located at Bhaleydhunga, South Sikkim, the Bhaleydhunga Skywalk project is all poised to be one of the best skywalks of the world, to put Sikkim in the forefront of global tourism at an estimated cost of about Rs 200 crore.
The detailed project report of the skywalk has been submitted to the authorities for further action.
The location of the proposed 4 km long skywalk, with 1.3 km height, provides a 360 degree view of Himalayan mountain peaks and plains of terai — offering the breathtaking view in a unique setting that is unparalleled anywhere in the country.
Fully funded by the Centre, the skywalk project is being executed by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim to attract tourists in the state.
The proposed skywalk will be a state-of-the-art tourist attraction in the state for both domestic and foreign tourists visiting Sikkim.
Primarily, the architectural design entails use of cable and steel to provide an ecologically friendly architectural marvel in the altitude of 3,300 m circular skywalk of 240 m perimeter. Out of 240 m, 104 m will be cantilevering out in the valley with glass floor.
The skywalk is going to be complimentary to the ropeway contributing to the increased footfall for both. The passenger ropeway connecting Dhapper to Bhaleydhunga peak in Yangang, South Sikkim is considered as one of the top five toughest ropeways in the world and the second toughest in Asia, after China.
A viewing gallery of additional 3.6 m width and 40 m length will be provided at the farthest point of cantilever. Further, the high standard of planning and construction design will make this project not just an attractive national landmark, but a point of interest in an international tourist map.
There is a 250 m long nature trail that connects Bhaleydhunga Ropeway upper terminal to the skywalk, passing through green lush forest of Meanam Wildlife Sanctuary.
The skywalk will also help in the economic and livelihood development of the region, creating new business opportunities and services, mostly in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Bhaleydhunga peak is located at an altitude of around 3,300 m and offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the Himalayan range. It takes around six hours of trekking to reach the cliff from the base.
Sikkim is located in the Himalayan range of mountains; therefore, it is an ancient belief and practice of the Sikkimese to worship mountain for the safety and prosperity of the land occupants. In this region, people worship the apparently highest peak Bhaleydunga.
Devotees from all the surrounding areas comprising of eleven blocks regularly go to the hilltop for worships and to visit millennium old Maenam Monastery.
Other than this, trekkers and tourists from all parts of India and abroad also visit Bhaleydunga and Maenam peak through the popular trekker’s route from Ravangla bazzar which is 13 km in length.
Therefore, it has been envisaged that Bhaleydunga peak has an importance to the local people from mythological point of view, as well as an attraction to the trekkers for its natural beauty and landscape.
Since the tourism industry holds a major share in the economy of Sikkim, department of tourism, government of Sikkim has given due importance to the tourism potentiality and weight age to the skywalk project.
It has been outlined that the proposed development programme will ensure accessibility to the remote areas so that benefits of socio development programme could reach to the maximum numbers of common people of the state.
The state government has undertaken a major tourism infrastructure project by developing a unique greenfield tourist destination at Bhaleydhunga Peak, that promotes nature and adventure tourism.
In absence of any connectivity at this moment of time, the only access to the location is trekking through mountainous route and therefore, the existing traffic cannot be taken as an indication for future patronisation of this facility.
After completion of the passenger ropeway, the tourist can reach upto a level which is only 100 m below and therefore, climbing up to the location is not going to be very harsh.
In any case, funicular railway is being proposed right upto the skywalk as a part of this project and therefore, it is expected that this will attract unprecedented footfall.