Registration open for KMY-2018 through Nathu La, Lipulekh Pass: MEA

Kailash Manasarovar YatraNEW DELHI: Pilgrims can go for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra this year through the Nathu La Pass, which was closed last year after the Chinese government cited “unfavorable conditions” in the backdrop of the India-China military face-off in Doklam.

Announcing the starting of the registration process for the four-month Yatra, from June 8, the external affairs ministry today said there are two routes.

“The route through Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand), which involves some trekking is estimated to cost about Rs 1.6 lakh per person…The route through Nathu La Pass (Sikkim) is motorable and suitable for senior citizens unable to undertake arduous trekking,” the ministry said.

The Nathu La route will cost about Rs 2 lakh per person, and the duration would be 21 days, including three days in Delhi for preparatory work.

China had stopped the Yatra through Nathu La in the aftermath of the military face-off with India in Doklam last year. It had demanded withdrawal of Indian forces from the site.

The standoff began on June 16 after the Indian troops intervened and stopped the Chinese Army from building a road in the area claimed by Bhutan, as it posed a security risk to ‘Chicken Neck’, the narrow corridor connecting India with its north-eastern states.

The ministry said applicants for this Yatra must be at least 18 years and not more than 70 years on January 1, 2018 to be eligible to apply for the Yatra. The last date for registration is March 23, 2018.

The Yatra through Lipulekh Pass will be conducted in 18 batches of 60 pilgrims each. From Nathu La, it will be 10 batches of 50 pilgrims each, it said.

The Lipulekh route passes through important sites like Narayan Ashram and Patal Bhuvaneshwar. Pilgrims can also see the scenic beauty of the Chialekh Valley, or the Om Parvat, which has the natural occurrence of snow in the shape of Om on this mountain, the ministry said.

From Gangtok, the Nathu La route passes through scenic places like Hangu Lake, and through the vast landscape of the Tibetan plateau.

As in previous years, first time applicants, medical doctors and married couples would have priority, the ministry said, adding that senior citizens would have priority on the Nathu La route if they opt for it.

“Keeping in line with Government of India s push for digital mode of interaction with the public, registration for this Yatra on the website is a fully online process. Applicants have to scan and upload passport pages containing personal details (photo page), address details (last page), and a photo to complete the application,” it added.

The MEA said selection of applicants will be through a fair computer-generated, random, gender-balanced selection process and applicants will be notified of their selection after the computerized draw through automated email or SMS-PTI

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