Over 1,500 Indian pilgrims who are undertaking the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra are stranded in Nepal due to heavy rain and bad weather. The Indian embassy in Kathmandu is monitoring the situation along the route in Simikot, 423 km from capital Kathmandu. Out of the stranded Indians, 290 are from Karnataka.
The Foreign Ministry said there are about 525 pilgrims stranded in Simikot, 550 in Hilsa and another 500 more in Tibet side. “We have requested Government of Nepal for army helicopters to evacuate stranded Indian nationals. /4 #IndiansStrandedInNepal,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted this morning.
The Karnataka government said all the pilgrims from the state are safe. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has also asked officials from his government to help the pilgrims from the state who are stranded in Simikot. The state government officials has spoken to a few stranded pilgrims.
The Indian mission has asked all tour operators in the region to try and hold pilgrims back in Tibet side as far as possible since the medical and civic facilities on Nepal side are inadequate.
In Nepal’s Simikot, Indian embassy officials are providing medical help to all the elderly pilgrims. Bad weather in the mountainous region is hampering the efforts to find alternative routes for evacuating the Indians. India will also look into the possibility of evacuation by helicopters for critical cases, a source in the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Office said.
Ms Swaraj shared the helpline numbers om Twitter:
Another group of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh, travelling to Kailash and Mansarovar via Uttarakhand, are standard in Pithoragarh .
Thousands of Indians travel to Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet every year. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is of religious and cultural significance for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. In 2015, China agreed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s request to let Indians access the mountain, considered the abode of Lord Shiva, through the Nathu La Pass, which is a relatively easier route than through a pass in Uttarakhand.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)