EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday announced the commencement of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, while asserting that the pilgrimage is an “important step” towards promoting people-to-people exchanges, and strengthening friendship and understanding between India and China. Speaking at an event held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan here, he also shared his personal experience of visiting the holy site when he was posted as an Ambassador in China.
The Minister, while announcing the commencement of the yatra for the Lipulekh route, said that the interest in the pilgrimage, which started in 1981, has “increased significantly” over the years. “Let me take this opportunity, to put on record the support and co-operation we have received from many other Ministries and agencies, particularly from the State Governments of Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Delhi in successful organisation of the yatra,” he said.
“I would also like to recognise the support extended by Government of the People’s Republic Of China in organising the yatra, which is an important step towards promoting people-to-peopleexchanges and strengthening friendship and understanding between the two countries,” the Minister said. For Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2019, the Ministry had received 2,996 applications, out of which 2,256 were by male applicants and 740 by females. As many as 624 senior citizens had applied for the yatra. For the Lipulekh route (Uttarakhand), there will be 18 batches with 60 pilgrims each and for the Nathu La (Sikkim) route, 10 batches with 50 yatris each. Two liaison officers will assist each batch of pilgrims.