Kailash Mansarover Yatra: 1st batch leaves Dharchula

The first batch of pilgrims for the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra was flagged off today from Dharchula base camp by Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal and MLA Manoj Tiwari.

The first batch comprises 58 pilgrims, among them 11 women, said Dhiraj Garbiyal, MD, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), the nodal agency for the pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims, while the 21-year-old Shri Nath from Kerala is the youngest, the oldest is 70-year-old Madhu Patel, who has been part of the yatra thrice.

For Ashok Radia of Porbandar on the other hand, this is the 16th time that he is making the pilgrimage. An Uttarakhand MLA, Surendra Jeena, too, is participating in the yatra, said Garbiyal.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had yesterday flagged off the batch in Delhi and it reached Dharchula base camp today. The pilgrims will enter the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China on June 20 through the existing route after crossing the 17,500-ft Lipulekh pass.
A total of 18 batches, each comprising around 60 pilgrims, will visit Kailash Mansarovar through the existing route.

Also, five batches of 50 pilgrims each will take the second route for the pilgrimage via the Himalayan pass of Nathu La, 4,000 metres above sea level. This route will facilitate comfortable travel for Indian pilgrims by buses, especially for elderly persons. Modalities for opening the second route via Sikki were finalised on February 1 when Swaraj had visited China.

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