Untimely snowfall halts survey of Kailash Mansarovar route
A joint team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) will now visit the first halt Sirkha in last week of April. The pilgrimage is set to start from New Delhi in the first week of Junedehradun Updated: Apr 11, 2017 16:22 IST
PITHORAGARH: The recent snowfall has halted survey work of annual Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage route that passes through this border district of Uttarakhand.
A joint team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) will now visit the first halt Sirkha in last week of April. The pilgrimage is set to start from New Delhi in the first week of June.
“The survey team were supposed to visit around this time but since the route is fully covered with snow therefore the visit has been rescheduled,” said TS Martolia, general manager, KMVN – the state owned government corporation that cares of the logistics.
The upper reaches of Uttarakhand received snowfall in the first week of April.
Every year, ITBP and KMVN take stock of the track and make necessary repairs. The track route camps at Sirkha, Bundi, Gunji , Kalapani and Nabhidhang are under heavy snow and possibly damaged.
Located at an altitude of 19,500 feet, Kailash Mansarovar falls in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) – which is under the control of China. In the Indian side beyond Malti, pilgrims have to trek remaining route on foot. The last station at Indian side is Liphulekh pass.
The Ministry of External Affairs selects pilgrims after inviting applications for the pilgrimage. There are two routes - Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La (Sikkim) - for reaching Kailash Mansarovar.
Mahendra Pratap, commandant of 7th battalion of the ITBP at Mirthi post, told HT that due to heavy snow fall after March 15, the force had to send another team for the second time to take stock of route beyond Gunji camp. “We’ll prepare a report on the actual damaged done by weather and sent it to the MEA and the Pithoragarh district administration.”
Kailash yatra dates back to 1981 when India and China agreed to start the annual pilgrimage. There was no restriction on pilgrim movement to Kailash Mansarovar till the 1962 war. Post war, the relations between both the nations soured and as a result yatra was cancelled. It took two decades for China to give permission to Indian pilgrims to visit Mount Kailash. The Nathu La route was started in 2015.
(With inputs from Anupam Trivedi in Dehradun)