Pithoragarh: Fifty four members of the first batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims on Tuesday crossed into Tibet from the 16,500 feet high Lipulekh pass.
However, one member of the first batch, Jaswant Singh from New Delhi has returned from Gunji camp as he was found medically unfit to go ahead from there, KMVN and ITBP sources said here.
The first batch crossed the Lipulekh pass at 7.20 AM amid dense snow and was immediately received by Chinese security personnel at northern end of the pass, said T S Martolia, general manager of the KMVN, the nodal agency for the Yatra.
Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) sources said the pilgrims will stay in Chinese territory of Tibet for 8 days and on the 9th day they will be back at the Lipulekh pass.
According to ITBP sources at Mirthi near Didiihat, its technical team has established communication contact with Taklakot region of Tibet in China from today to take stock of the location of the Indian pilgrims in that country.
According to KMVN sources, while the first batch has crossed into Tibet, the 47-member second batch has reached Gala camp from Bundi and the 56-member third batch of pilgrims has reached Kathgodam from New Delhi today.
A total of 1,430 devotees will undertake the pilgrimage in 25 batches this year. Eighteen batches, each comprising around 60 pilgrims, will visit Kailash Mansoravar through the more arduous Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) route, while seven batches with 50 pilgrims each will take the newly-opened Nathu La (Sikkim) route.
The yatra will continue for the next four months.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had received 4,442 applications this year compared to last year's 2,600. The pilgrims were shortlisted through a computerised draw of lots.