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The road to the holy abode of Lord Shiva, Kailash Mansarovar, is about to get shorter, cheaper, and more comfortable, all thanks to the Government of India for opening up a new route. By Upasana Singh
The long and arduous journey to the pilgrimage site of Kailash Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China will now be cut short by six days as a new road has been inaugurated. This route will connect an 80-km road from Dharchula in Uttarakhand to the Lipulekh pass—the tri-junction between India, Nepal, and China. Mount Kailash is located around 97 km north of the 17,000 feet high Lipulekh pass.
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Through this new route, pilgrims will be able to travel to Lipulekh from Delhi in two days. This will significantly cut short travel time. People of all age groups and fitness levels will also be able to complete their yatra now, as apart from a short five-km trek on the Chinese side across the Lipulekh Pass, roads will be fully equipped with vehicles to complete the rest of the 97 km journey before the 43 km of foot parikrama for pilgrims who wish to do so.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to introduce the new route. He tweeted, “Delighted to inaugurate the Link Road to Mansarovar Yatra today. The BRO achieved road connectivity from Dharchula to Lipulekh (China Border) known as Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route.”
At present, there are two routes to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra—one via Sikkim and the other via Kathmandu. Both routes require long hours of air travel, road travel, and trekking to reach the pilgrimage site. However, the new route constructed by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) is a one-fifth distance of road travel compared to the other routes and it doesn’t require any air travel. The majority of travel is in India, with only 16 per cent in China as compared to the 80 per cent of road travel in China via other routes.
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Kailash Mansarovar is a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus. It is traditionally recognised as the abode of Lord Shiva and the holy centre of the planet and a manifestation of heaven. The holy water of Lake Mansarovar is believed to be a personification of purity that cleanses and washes away one’s sins committed over a hundred lifetimes. The site is also sacred to other religions such as Buddhist, Jainism, and Bon.
The yatra is organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in India whilst Chinese authorities manage the journey beyond the Indian border.