The Kailash Mansarovar yatra, undertaken annually by hundreds of pilgrims, recently began. Over 13,500 people have undertaken the yatra since its inception in 1981. Last year, a record 910 pilgrims undertook the yatra.
- However, with an alternative route to Kailash Mansarovar via Nathu La in Sikkim agreed upon by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last year, it is feared that the number of pilgrims undertaking the yatra from the Uttarakhand route will come down.
Kailash Manasarovar Yatra:
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY) is known for its religious importance, cultural significance and arduous nature. The trek through high altitudes in freezing temperature entails hard labour and courting danger. The annual pilgrimage holds religious importance for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.
- Yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and rugged terrain. It may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit.
- Mansarovar Lake is located at an altitude of 14,950 ft (4,558 m) is said to be the highest freshwater lake in the world. It is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 940 kilometres (580 mi) from Lhasa. To the west of it is Lake Rakshastal and to the north is Mount Kailash.
- The yatra is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) annually. The Yatra is organized in close cooperation with the Government of the People’s Republic of China. State Governments of Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Delhi, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN) are other major Indian partners of the Ministry in organizing the Yatra.
Sources: The Hindu, MEA, Wiki.