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Indian dies after Kailash pilgrimage

A 60-year-old Indian from Gujarat died after pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, one of the holiest religious sites venerated by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

world Updated: Jul 05, 2010 17:12 IST

A 60-year-old Indian from Gujarat died after pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, one of the holiest religious sites venerated by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

Himmat Lal Chudasama from Rajkot town died in his plush Kathmandu hotel on Sunday, within 24 hours of returning from the mountain in Tibet, considered the abode of the gods themselves.

The staff at the Royal Singhi Hotel in Kathmandu told IANS that Chudasama was travelling with his wife Hansa Devi, his sister and brother-in-law.

The four had been part of a group of 200 Indian pilgrims who left for Tibet June 20 and returned to Kathmandu July 3.

"He was fine in the night when he arrived," said Amar Shrestha of Kathmandu's Shrestha Travels and Tours that had organised the trip.

"Around 4 a.m. Sunday, he said he was feeling ill. He died while being rushed to the hospital."

Grieving Hansa Devi and her relatives are flying to New Delhi on Monday with the body.

Every year, hundreds of Indian devotees head out for Mount Kailash and the nearby Man Sarovar, regarded as a holy lake.

However, many of them are ignorant of the physical hardship the gruelling journey entails, due to the high altitude, extreme cold and bureaucratic and language obstacles in China-controlled Tibet.

Many travellers develop high altitude sickness with breathing difficulties. Medical facilities, including bottled oxygen, are not easily available and the lack of English-speaking officials add to distressed pilgrims' hardship.

Last year, there were several tales of the pilgrims being exploited by unscrupulous travel agencies which allowed the elderly and unfit to go on the journey, resulting in the death of nearly a dozen.

Nepal's tourism board has been advising Indian pilgrims who choose to travel via Nepal to stay on for a few days in order to get acclimatised to higher altitudes.