By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Jun 21: India’s first batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims for the year 2017 has crossed into Tibet from Lipulekh pass in Uttarkhand yesterday.
“Fifty-four members of the first batch of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims crossed into Tibet from the 16,500 feet high Lipulekh pass,” Business Standard reported June 20.
The pilgrims will stay in Tibet for 8 days and on the 9th day, they will be back at the Lipulekh pass, the report said, citing sources from Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, the nodal agency for the Yatra.
A total of 1,430 devotees are set to undertake the pilgrimage in 25 batches this year. Of the 25 batches, eighteen batches with around 60 pilgrims will visit Mt. Kailash (Tib: Gang Rinpoche) and Mansarovar lake (Tib:Mapham Youtso) through the more grueling Lipulekh pass route while the rest will take the newly-opened Nathu La (Sikkim) route over the next four months.
The pilgrims were selected through a computerized draw of lots from 4442 applications received by the Minister of External Affairs.
External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj flagged off this year’s the first batch of pilgrims bound for the annual Kailash Mansarovar yatra on Sunday from the capital. Both Mount Kailash and Mansarovar lake have religious significance to the followers of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism people.