"The yatra has been stopped in Buddhi in Uttarakhand in view of landslides and heavy rains. The pilgrims have been accommodated in various locations and the route will be opened again after things get normal," a senior ITBP official said. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) guards the yatra and pilgrims.
The annual pilgrimage into Tibet had begun on June 12 with the first batch of 53 pilgrims from Delhi reaching Kathgodam in Pithoragarh. It included 22 women.
The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN) makes arrangements for the pilgrimage. According to the KMVN, besides all boarding and lodging arrangements, proper communication facilities have also been provided to the pilgrims as digital satellite phone terminal sets have been installed by BSNL at each track route camp. One satellite phone has also been given to the liaison officer of every batch.
This year a control room run by ITBP has been set up at Sukhatal in Nainital.
A total of 18 batches of pilgrims are scheduled to have a glimpse of holy Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, and take a holy bath in the sacred lake of Mansarovar. Each batch takes 22 days to complete the yatra. Out of these, 14 days are in Indian territory and eight days are spent inside the Chinese territory of Tibet.
The nigam is charging Rs 32,000 from each pilgrim for the arrangements of the yatra, including transport, boarding, meals, guides, communication and other things. China is separately charging $ 801 (Rs 46,289) from each pilgrim for the expenditures in Chinese territory of Tibet.
The total distance of this yatra is 647 km (one side) in the Indian territory and 243 km (one side) inside the Chinese territory. The yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet under inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and rugged terrain.