Stranded for week, Mansarovar pilgrims reach Kathgodam

The 5th and 6th batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims, stranded at Gunji for the last one week due to bad weather, were airlifted by choppers to Kathgodam on Wednesday

dehradun Updated: Jul 25, 2018 22:20 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times, Haldwani
Uttarakhand News
Sixth batch pilgrims of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra at Kathgodam.(HT Photo)

The 5th and 6th batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims, stranded at Gunji for the last one week due to bad weather, were airlifted by choppers to Kathgodam on Wednesday.

The 6th batch pilgrims complained that arrangements on the Chinese side were not good and they faced problems in procuring water for daily chores. The toilets where they stayed were also dirty, said many of them.

However, other pilgrims said that they were comfortable at Gunji. “We had good time there,” said Anju Goud from Jaipur. She said that her group members spent time in trekking to nearby Nabhi village and also enjoyed singing hymns in spare time.

Almost all the pilgrims were happy with the arrangements made by the Indian authorities. However, Varun Kumar, a bank employee from Chennai, said that strange thing was that the mobile phones had no connectivity at Gunji, which is 29 km from the China border. “But Chinese and Nepalese SIM cards were working at the border,” he added.

Bhanwar Lal Verma, 69, from Jaipur was unhappy with the condition of toilets on the Chinese side. “There was no arrangement for keeping them (toilets) clean, while the toilets on Indian side were well maintained,” he said.

A Chinese cook made food for them. “We would be asking the authorities to ask the Chinese side to keep the arrangements immaculate and also focus on providing clean toilets and helpful staff,” Verma said.

Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) managing director Dhiraaj Garbiyal said that in view of the weather related problems and delay in flight of helicopters, the Chinese authorities had increased the visa period for the Indian pilgrims for 10 more days. “This would ensure that the pilgrims do not face problems in crossing over to China,” he added.

He said the system of providing homestay at Nabhi village was proving “very beneficial” and the pilgrims had praised the effort. It helped them in gaining an insight into the culture of the local tribal communities, Garbiyal said quoting the pilgrims.

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 22:20 IST