Leh: Jammu and Kashmir Government may open Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Demchok to make the pilgrimage through the "easiest, safest and shortest" route.
Officials privy to the development said that a proposal has already been made and sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs and External Affairs for their approval and to take up the matter with their Chinese and Tibetan counterparts for necessary action.
“We have decided to open a new route to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from Demchok in south-east Ladakh through Pithoraharg, Uttarakhand. If this route is opened, age will not be a restriction (for pilgrims). It will be the safest, shortest and more economical way to undertake the Yatra," Leh Deputy Commissioner Tsering Angchok said.
However, the proposal is awaiting nod from both the Indian and Chinese governments.
The MEA organizes the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra every year during June and September. People from all walks of life participate in the Yatra which leads to the holy sites of Mount Kailash and Mansarovar lake in Tibet, through the traditional route followed by saints and pilgrims since ancient times.
The 644-km-long pilgrimage, which includes a 574-km motor journey from New Delhi up to the Dharchula base camp, passes through five camps - Sirkha, Gala, Bundi, Gunji and Nabhidhang, before crossing the Lipulekh Pass to reach Tibet.
The government in coordination with Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN), a nodal agency which oversees the conduct of the Yatra, is continuously working towards improving facilities provided to the pilgrims.
It has from this year changed the route of the Yatra to Narain Ashram instead of going to Mangti, the original route.
Meanwhile, the J-K government has decided to revamp basic infrastructure like roads, local transportation and electricity among others in order to attract tourists to Ladakh region.
"We are awaiting over Rs 100 crore from the Centre to improve roads connectivity. Efforts are also on to ensure sufficient power supply in the town by 2013," Angchok said.
Almost all the basic infrastructure was badly damaged in the country`s largest district when a flashflood and cloudburst struck on the intervening night of August 5-6 last year.
About 257 people had died and more than 1,400 households
were affected in the catastrophe.
Despite the calamity, authorities have noticed an increase in the tourist influx. "About 78,000 domestic and international tourists have come to Leh in 2010 and till May-end more than 50,000 have come. We expect the number to grow," said Angchok.