Record pilgrim turnout at Kailash Mansarovar despite Doklam stand-off
Kailash Mansarovar witnessed record turnout of pilgrims this year in the 36 years of history despite more than two-month-long standoff between India and China over DoklamUpdated: Sep 04, 2017 20:32 IST
Kailash Mansarovar witnessed record turnout of pilgrims this year in the 36 years of history despite more than two-month-long standoff between India and China over Doklam.
According to the records of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) — the nodal agency for Uttarakhand government to monitor Kailash Mansarovar Yatra — 919 pilgrims visited Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet during the season, which comes to an end on September 8.
This is the highest footfall to Mount Kailash ever since pilgrimage resumed between the two countries in 1981.
According to the KMVN officials, 17 batches of pilgrims have returned to India after completing their parikrama (pilgrimage) around Mount Kailash, while the last batch of nearly 35 pilgrims is on its way. The officials said that the 16th and 17th batch of pilgrims were brought back to Indian mainland through helicopters due to bad weather.
KMVN officials said the record turnout of pilgrims for Kailash Mansarovar from Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand has come as a “big surprise” to them since at one stage they were worried about the suspension of the pilgrimage in the wake of Doklam face-off.
“We were concerned about the continuance of pilgrimage after Chinese government stopped the entry of pilgrims from Nathula Pass owing to Doklam impasse between the two countries. However, it continued and resulted into record influx of pilgrims. Threat to continuance of pilgrimage was also there after Malpa tragedy in August, but thanks to the willingness and devotion of pilgrims,” claimed Satpal Maharaj, the state tourism minister.
“Prior to this year, highest number of pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar was recorded 910 in 2014 when the state was trying to overcome the 2013 rain tragedy that killed thousands of local and outside pilgrims. It’s an irony that on both occasions highest pilgrims’ inflow was preceded by untoward incidents. There was sudden rise in pilgrims’ inflow from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat this time,” KMVN officer on special duty (OSD) DK Sharma told HT.
“Earlier average strength of pilgrims from UP used to be around 30-35, but this year it touched 132, while 134 pilgrims visited from Gujarat,” he added.
It’s pertinent to mention here that around pilgrims from 24 states liked to visit Kailash Mansarovar via Lipulekh Pass. This also included those from Sikkim, where Nathula pass was opened by China for the pilgrimage two years ago.