New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said as per an understanding reached with the Chinese side, five batches of 50 pilgrims each are expected to travel through Nathu La for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra this year.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said this year about 1,000 pilgrims are expected to undertake the yatra.
As per the statement laid on the table of the House, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi had agreed to open an additional route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim.
The route through Nathu La will augment capacity and reduce the hardship enabling many more pilgrims, in particular aged pilgrims, to undertake the Yatra, the government said.
As per the statement, 906 people had undertaken the pilgrimage last year while the number stood at just 53 in 2013, as due to natural disaster in Uttarakhand only one batch completed the yatra.