First batch of Yatris leave for Kailash Manasarovar

Gangtok, 16 Jun:

The first batch of Yatris for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2017 via Nathula was flagged off by Chief Secretary of the State, AK Shrivastava, in a special programme organized at the Mayur Hotel premises in Gangtok today.

The batch includes 47 pilgrims from all over the country including a Liaison Officer.

Officers from Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, along with Block Development Officer-Jorethang, travel agents and some stakeholders were present at the event.

The programme had a briefing session by Commandant of Indo Tibetan Border Police, Sanjeev Singh, on how to go about with the pilgrimage. Being from the border force and with the experience and knowledge of several expeditions, the Commandant presented his briefing with a slide show talking about the risks involved at such high altitudes and also encouraging them with success stories of the past.

Chief Secretary, Mr Shrivastava, while welcoming the pilgrims, informed them of how the Yatra was initiated by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling who requested the Central Government in 2006 to allow the pilgrims to use the Nathula route into China.

He expressed his admiration and complimented the state and its people for being able to carry out the pilgrimage successfully since 2015. He also spoke on the tourism sector playing a significant role for broadening pilgrimage tourism.

Mayor-Gangtok Municipal Corporation, Shakti Singh Choudhary, being one of the yatris of the first batch of KMY from Sikkim in 2015, shared his personal experiences and advised and suggested the other pilgrims on the dos and donts during the pilgrimage.

Secretary-Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, C Zangpo, greeted the yatris and briefed them about mountainous terrain and expedition along the lines of tourism. He wished them luck for their journey.

Member of Parliament-Rajya Sabha-cum-Chief Whip, Narayan Lal Panchariya, who is one of the pilgrims in the batch, expressed his happiness and joy on being selected for the pilgrimage via Nathula.

He stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi works effortlessly and endlessly for all the states to come together and this pilgrimage is an example of how the government successfully works in co-ordination with the various states and foreign governments.

Liaison Officer, Devendra Singh, expressed hope that the weather would be on their side and as the LO, he would do his best in motivating the pilgrims on this religious expedition.

After the formal programme, Chief Secretary, Mr Shrivastava, flagged off the 47 pilgrims.

It is to be informed here that the batch of pilgrims will halt at Sherethang for two nights where ITBP and the health team will help them with the acclimatization process. They will cross over into China on 20 Jun via Nathula.

The next batch of KMY will be arriving in Gangtok on 20 Jun. This year a total of seven Yatris from Sikkim have been selected for the Yatra and will be part of different batches. The first batch does not include any Yatri from Sikkim.