GUWAHATI: With China refusing to open the gates to the first batch of about 50 pilgrims scheduled to travel to Kailash Mansarovar through Nathu La in Sikkim, the devotees have returned to Sherthang after waiting for a week. The second batch of pilgrims has been held up in Gangtok.
"Yes, there are some difficulties being experienced in movement of pilgrims via Nathu La. Matter is being discussed with Chinese side," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said today.
For nearly a week, a group of about 50 people waited in Sikkim for China to grant them passage to Tibet where they wanted to worship at Mount Kailash, which is at an altitude of about 6,500 metres. China refused to open its gates, reportedly because of major landslides.
The first batches of pilgrims were flagged off at Gangtok on June 16. Five batches of pilgrims were supposed to cross over to the Chinese side through Nathula pass.
Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has brief Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the pilgrims in New Delhi today, said sources in his office.
In 2015, China agreed to let Indians cross the border in Sikkim as they make the tough Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra.
There are two routes to get to Mount Kailash, considered the abode of Lord Shiva and of religious significance to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists - through a pass in Uttarakhand, which was ravaged by floods in the hill state in 2013, and through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim.
The route through Nathu La Pass sees Indians crossing through to Tibet and then using Chinese buses for their journey.
Chinese President Xi Jinping committed the new route to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had pointed out the terrain difficulties of the existing routes through Uttarakhand and Nepal which involve arduous journey, including heavy trekking and travel on the backs of mules.
About 1,400 devotees will undertake the yatra this year. Most of them will use the tougher Uttarakhand route; about 350 will attempt the journey through Sikkim.