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‘Sikkim route to Mansarovar yatra not affecting Uttarakhand’

Amarnath Yatra

Kolkata: Notwithstanding the opening of the new route for Kailash Mansarovar yatra via Sikkim from this year, the original route from Uttarakhand has not lost its charm among pilgrims, tourism department officials say.

“We initially had apprehensions that the old route might lose attention but this year there were over 3000 applications of pilgrims who wanted to travel through Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. So the opening of the second route has had no effect at all on us,” Gopal Dutt Bhatt, Vice President of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), told PTI during the Travel and Tourism Fair here.

KMVN is the tourism authority of Kumaon region of the Himalayan state.

For the Uttarakhand route, 1080 pilgrims were selected this year after a computerised draw by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Beginning from June, 18 batches of pilgrims are being sent for the journey which takes a total of 25 days and costs around Rs 1.5 lakh.

The second route via Nathu La pass in Sikkim takes two days less but costs Rs 20,000 more than the old route.

The number of pilgrims for Sikkim route is limited to 250 but involves no trekking as they are driven along the entire journey.

Explaining the reason why Uttarakhand is still the top choice of pilgrims, Bhatt said, “This is the original route prescribed for pilgrimage by our saints since time immemorial”.

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