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India Embassy urges pilgrims to avoid Nepal route for Kailash Yatra

By The Assam Tribune

Kathmandu, June 1 (IANS): The Indian Embassy in Nepal on Wednesday issued an advisory to Indian nationals planning to undertake the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage to avoid the route via Nepal owing to forecast of inclement weather.

Since the weather conditions are expected to deteriorate in the weeks to come, the Indian citizens are advised to avoid the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route to visit Mount Kailash and the sacred Mansarovar Lake, an embassy statement here said.

The Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route is considered difficult due to a treacherous terrain but a lot of Indians prefer the route that is close to the China border.

A large number of Indians have also been making their own arrangements for the Kailash-Mansarover Yatra via Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route, the embassy said, adding that many were facing logistical problems in Hilsa and Simikot primarily on account of bad weather. The inclement weather prevents regular evacuation from Hilsa to Simikot by helicopter and from Simikot to Nepalgunj by fixed-wing aircraft, it pointed out.

Only this week, over 500 Indians, mostly pilgrims en route to Kailash-Mansarovar via Nepal, were stranded at Hilsa and Simikot due to rough weather and officials faced difficulties in evacuating them. All these pilgrims were brought by private Indian tour operators which had arranged for their travel and other logistics. Most of these stranded Indians were evacuated by air from the Hilsa-Simikot section with the help of Nepali security officials.

The Indian Embassy said that, in cooperation with the Nepal government and tour operators, it was making all possible arrangements for the timely evacuation of pilgrims/visitors from Hilsa to Simikot and from Simikot to Nepalgunj. However, inclement weather was impeding regular air services, thereby causing difficulties for those stranded at Hilsa and Simikot, the embassy said.

The Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra takes place from June to September every year.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs offers pilgrimage through two routes -- the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand in which the trip is of 25 days and the Nathu La in Sikkim (23 days).

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