Trolley system to take Haji Malang devotees uphill


Thane (Maharashtra) : Lakhs of devotees and tourists who throng the famous Haji Malang mausoleum in Thane district will soon have a funicular trolley to help them go up the steep hill to offer prayers, a tourism official said Tuesday.

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The tomb of the revered Sufi saint Haji Baba Abdur Rehman Malang, around 100 km from Mumbai, attracts a huge number of devotees from all communities.

The official said the central government has approved a proposal by the Maharashtra government to construct the funicular trolley, a two-car electric narrow gauge trolley system, to take people up the hill to the tomb, where prayers are being offered for over three centuries.

The Rs.46 crore project for connecting the base of the hill with the dargah, located almost near the top of the approximately 1000-foot high hill, was pending approval for nearly five years.

“However, yesterday (Monday) we received the green signal from the centre to go ahead with the proposal to construct the funicular trolley. It will be a boon to the lakhs of tourists and devotees who come there every week,” said the official working with Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

The project was accorded the clearance of the union ministry of environment and forests in March 2008.

But since the area fell within the jurisdiction of the Matheran Eco-Sensitive Zone, it needed further approval from the Matheran Monitoring Committee and the centre’s National Forest Council, the official explained.

Expected to be ready within 28 months, the trolley will have a 1174-metre long route, two stations, one at the base and another at the top, a rock-fall protection system and various public amenities, the official said.

Besides devotees and tourists, Haji Malang is a hot favourite among adventurists who go there for hiking and trekking to the hill top, which offers breathtaking view of the nearby valleys and mountain peaks.