Sushma Swaraj flags off first batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims via Nathu La pass route
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today flagged off the first batch of Kailash Mansarovar Yatris from the Nathu La pass route.
Speaking on the occasion, she said that elderly people will also be able to have a glimpse of Lord Shiva without facing problems via the new route.
"I wish you very best for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Travel safely and comfortably complete your yatra. We will make sure that the old people will also be able to take sight of Lord Shiva without facing problems," Swaraj said.
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 from today, the yatra via the new route will cost Rs.1.7 lakh.
The Union Minister also thanked the Chinese government for opening the Nathu La pass route for Indian pilgrims.
"People to people contact are an important aspect of diplomacy, especially in religious tourism (Kailash Mansarovar). Surely those who are going for Kailash Mansarovar yatra will be thanking Chinese government in their minds for making the yatra possible. We are planning to take an alternative way by having talks with China for easy travel to Kailash Mansarovar," Swaraj said.
The yatra is organised by Ministry of External Affairs each year between June and September in cooperation with the Government of China.
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.