India, China discuss new route to Mansarovar

India, China discuss new route to Mansarovar

As last month’s deluge washed off a large section of roads used by Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims, India and China on Wednesday discussed the possibility of opening another route to the abode of Lord Shiva for pilgrims.

Indian and Chinese officials discussed the possibility of introducing an additional route for the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson said after a two-day meeting.

The alternate route, which falls within China, is via Demchok in southern Ladakh.
The issue was earlier discussed due to its easy connectivity to Kailash-Mansarovar. The distance is about 300 km but the route is mostly through plains and motorable.
The religious site is integral to Hindu mythology. It is just a three-day travel from Ladakh. However, the disputed nature of the boundary in there may have to be factored in before a decision on the route is taken.

If operationalised, the new route will let more people undertake the journey, which is at present restricted on the basis of age and medical fitness.

The MEA organises the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra every year from June to September. This year the June segment was cancelled following the Uttarakhand floods, which washed away parts of the road.

The 644-km pilgrimage, which includes a 574-km motor journey from New Delhi to the Dharchula base camp, passes through five camps at Sirkha, Gala, Bundi, Gunji and Nabhidhang, before crossing the Lipulekh Pass into Tibet.

The journey involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet in inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and rugged terrain and may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit.

The third meeting of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, which discussed the alternate route, was led by Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the MEA. The Chinese delegation was led by Ouyang Yujing, director-general, Department of Boundary and Oceanic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They also discussed additional confidence-building measures between the two sides, which include creation of a hotline between the armies.

Comments (+)