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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra begins today

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Pithoragarh: The annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra began today as the first batch of 58 pilgrims was flagged off by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat from Almora.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had yesterday flagged off the batch from Delhi which will reach Dharchula base camp tomorrow after starting off from Almora in the morning.

The pilgrims will enter Tibetan Autonomous Region of China on June 20 through the existing route of 17,500 feet high Lipulekh pass.

“We have made preparations to provide more facilities to the pilgrims and have deputed over 100 employees along all routes,” said Dhiraj Garbiyal, MD, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), the nodal agency for pilgrimage.

“Over 18 batches of more than 1,000 pilgrims are likely to undertake the annual Mansarovar Yatra this year,” he said.

“Three companies of SDRF jawans have been deputed at Dharchula Gala and Malpa for security of the pilgrims and their rescue in case of any disaster,” a KMVN official said.

“ITBP, which guards the Indo-Tibet border, will take over the security of pilgrims beyond Gunji camp. Here the pilgrims will have to undergo second medical examination,” he added.

Special arrangements have been made this year ensure comfortable pilgrimage. All camps on the route have been provided with new lodging facilities and kumaoni and tribal cuisines will be provided beginning from the first camp at Almora, officials said.

ITBP official Kedar Singh said that red flags have been installed along the 7 km route from Nabhidhank to Lipulekh Pass which is presently under heavy snow cover and seems to remain so till two batches of pilgrims pass through the route.

“We have installed satellite phones at Gala, Bundi ,Gunji and Nabhidhank camps to allow the pilgrims talk to their families,” a BSNL official said in Almora.

A total of 18 batches, each comprising around 60 pilgrims, will visit Kailash Mansarovar through the existing route while five batches having 50 pilgrims each will visit it through the second route.

The second route through the Himalayan pass of Nathu La, 4,000 metres above sea level, will facilitate comfortable travel for Indian pilgrims by buses, especially for elderly Indian citizens.

Modalities for opening the second route for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in Tibet via Sikkim by this month were finalised on February 1 when Swaraj visited China.

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