Giving a reason for officials to smile, more than 900 pilgrims have visited Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) this year, setting a new record of sorts. The yatra is an annual affair which passes through Uttarakhand and goes till Kailash Mansarovar in TAR under China.
The 18th batch of the yatra left from Pithoragarh for its destination on Wednesday. This is the last batch and with this batch, total number of pilgrims has reached 909, breaking all past records since 1981.
The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar is considered one of the difficult pilgrimages. On the Indian side, beyond Malti, pilgrims have to trek the route on foot. The last station on the Indian side is Liphulekh pass.
After last year flash floods, the rains ravaged roads, a foot trek and damaged a bridge at Kimjyoti in Pithoragarh district. Last year, owing to the adverse situation, the yatra was suspended midway.
Although the yatra began on June 12 through an old route but later the administration decided to move pilgrims through an alternative route. Despite odds, the yatra went on successfully.
Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), the nodal agency that conducts the yatra in Uttarakhand is elated at its success this year. KMVN also promotes tourism activities in the region.
“Though there were apprehensions, we are glad that the yatra broke past records. We feel this will send positive feedback across India,” said Deepak Rawat, managing director of KMVN. Rawat said KMVN hopes to witness a boom in tourism.
The ministry of external affairs handles the annual Kailash pilgrimage.
Kailash yatra dates back to 1981 when India and China agreed to start the pilgrimage. There were no restrictions on the movement of pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar till 1962 war. Post war, relations between the two nations soured and as a result the yatra was cancelled.