Dehradun : The Kailash Mansarovar yatra, very popular with followers of Lord Shiva and tourists keen to see the higher reaches of Uttarakhand and also parts of Tibet, also took a beating of the inclement weather and landslides that have been plaguing this small mountain state this season.
Reports reaching the state headquarters and quoting theManaging Director of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), Deepak Rawat, said that the ministry of external affairs had finally decided to call off the yatra this season because of the natural calamities that had hit its route.
It may be mentioned here that the KMVN manages the Kailash mansarovar yatra every year, which is popular with people from all over the country. The calling off the yatra by the ministry of external affairs will cost the KMVN about Rs 50 lakhs as it will have to refund the money that it had taken.
There were about 18 groups that had booked for the yatra this season totaling about 1000 pilgrims and tourists. But because of the inclement weather resulting in landslides and other natural calamities, with portions of the route getting washed away, only one group could finish the yatra and that too in 30 days. Normally the yatra is completed in about 22 days.
Reports said that taking into consideration the fact that the route could not be repaired because of the incessant rains and inclement weather, which was causing a lot of hardship to the first group that had undertaken the yatra, officials of the ministry of external affairs and KMVN discussed the matter at the top level, before deciding to call the yatra off this season.
Kailash Manasarovar yatra is known for its religious value, cultural significance, physical beauty and thrilling nature. It is undertaken by hundreds of people every year. Holding significance for the Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva, it holds religious importance also for the Jains and the Buddhists.
It is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs every year between May and September. The yatra is open to eligible Indian citizens, holding valid Indian passports, who wish to proceed to Kailash-Manasarovar for religious purposes.
?? The yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and rugged terrain, and may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit. Therefore, only those healthy and physically fit are advised to undertake it.
The Government of India makes it clear that it shall not be responsible in any manner for any loss of life or injury to any participant or any loss or damage to property of a yatri due to any natural calamity or due to any other reason.
It was perhaps because of the risks involved this year due to the natural calamities and the time taken by the first group that it was decided to call it off much to the chagrin of the large number of people who were keen to undertake it.
A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand).
Jagdish had worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards
Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.