New Delhi: The Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage will commence June 8, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Thursday while announcing that elderly pilgrims and those with mobility issues will now be able to visit Mount Kailash for the first time via a motorable route passing through China.
Sushma Swaraj also unveiled a website that has detailed information about the yatra. "The yatra (pilgrimage) until 2014 was through only one way via the Lipulekh pass (in Uttarakhand), which was very difficult and only the youth or a very fit person could go on that route.
"There is now the Nathu-La pass, a motorable route and comfortable to use. The old and people with mobility issues can also go this time by car till Mount Mansarovar," Sushma Swaraj told the media here. The pilgrimage - that will commence June 8 from the old route via Lipulekh pass - will cost Rs.1.5 lakh.
The new motorable route via Nathu-La on the India-China border from east Sikkim to Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet, was added after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries during Chinese President Xi Jinping's India visit in September 2014. Beginning June 18, the yatra via the new route will cost Rs.1.7 lakh.
Eighteen batches of 60 people each will pass through the old route whereas five batches of 50 people each will use the new route to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet. In a first, a dedicated interactive website - http://kmy.gov.in - will have details like fares for the journey from both routes and other information people need to plan for the pilgrimage that will end in September.
On the bilingual website available in Hindi and English, each applicant will also receive a unique identification number to track the status of the form submitted online. A bilingual Kailash Mansarovar yatra helpline is now available at 011-24300655, where the caller will have a menu of options to choose from and learn more about the pilgrimage.