Kailash Mansarovar Yatra ’18 flagged off from Gangtok 35 pilgrims including 01 Sikkimese in first ba

Gangtok, 16 Jun:

The first batch of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018 that arrived in Gangtok last night was flagged off today from Gangtok by Additional Chief Secretary, SC Gupta, in the presence of Tourism Secretary, CP Dhakal, Chief Executive Officer, Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, Suman Thapa, Director in General, Indo Tibetan Border Police, KD Dwivedi, and other officials.

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra had been cancelled last year due to the Doklam controversy. The pilgrims last year had to return from Nathula.

This is the fourth year of the pilgrimage from Sikkim. The batch has 35 pilgrims including 24 male, 09 female and 01 Liaison Officer in the batch. This year, 10 batches will be flagged off for the Yatra via Nathula in Sikkim. The final batch will reach Gangtok on 24 Aug.

In a special function held at a local hotel here in Gangtok, the yatris were provided with various useful information and tips for the yatra. The programme was organised to provide information on various rules and regulations, health related issues and the dos and don’ts that the yatris need to be aware of.

Speaking on the occasion, Additional Chief Secretary, Mr Gupta, congratulated the yatris and wished them a successful and blessed journey.

He apprised them of the importance of keeping the rules and regulations in mind and urged them to co-operate with each other and the supporting staff.

Tourism Secretary, Mr Dhakal, while addressing the function said that the Tourism Department and STDC are hopeful and positive that this year, the yatris will complete the Mansarovar Yatra on time with good health and return with blessings.

The function was also addressed by president of Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association [SAMA], Kalzang Gyatso, who through his power point presentation, presented brief information about the Yatra and informed all the yatris about the dos and don’ts.

It may be mentioned here, SAMA will be providing technical support to the pilgrims during the yatra. He touched upon the importance of communication while commuting.

Speaking to SummitTimes, CEO, STDC, Mr Thapa, informed that a series of high level talks have been made before the initiation of the yatra this year.

“The high level meeting between the officials of India and China was attended by senior officers from Beijing and senior Indian official. The meeting was successful as the Chinese authorities assured to provide all possible help and showed positive attitude towards the Mansarovar Yatra,” said Mr Thapa.

Deputy Commandant, ITBP, Ganesh Rohtela, talked about the safety and medical measures. He also gave a detailed account of the route mentioning the distance and altitude of the various stops to Mount Kailash. He asked the pilgrims to be cautious on the mountain terrain and stressed on starting early and maintaining a steady pace during the trek.

The first batch of yatris will halt for two days at 15th Mile and two days at Sherathang for acclimatization. There will be a final medical check at Nathula on 20 Jun before the pilgrims finally cross the border.

As per information, there is only one Sikkimese yatri participating in KMY 2018.

The yatris were seen in full fervor and excitement and expressed complete satisfaction over the hospitality received in the State of Sikkim.

Speaking to SummitTimes, one of the pilgrims, Ravindra Kumar Sharma, who was also a part of the KMY team last year, extended gratitude to the State Tourism Department and STDC for the support they had provided last year and this year as well.

“Last year the yatra was cancelled due to international issues but I have no regrets as we enjoyed the great hospitality of the STDC. They had arranged for sightseeing and other tours and we had a great time back then,” expressed Mr Sharma.

Other pilgrims also extended their gratitude to STDC for their support and arrangements while appreciating the quality of services provided by them.

One 68-year-old yatri said that he is grateful to the State Government for initiating the Mansarovar Yatra route via Nathula which is much easier for senior citizens.

The first batch also includes Arbind Kunar Asthana from the State of Bihar who has already completed Mansarovar Yatra as many as six times. He appreciated the efforts of STDC and State Government and expressed his excitement to complete the yatra for the seventh time.

Mr Asthana said that he has traveled and completed the Mansarovar Yatra through various other routes from Nepal and this is his first time via Nathula.

The second batch of KYM 2018 will reach Gangtok on 20 Jun and cross the international border on 25 Jun, it is informed.