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New road route through Uttarakhand to reach Kailash Mansarovar

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    30th May, 2020

A new and faster road route through Uttarakhand to reach Kailash Mansarovar, a pilgrimage site nestled in the Himalayas in Tibet, is complete and will soon be open to pilgrims, saving them time and an arduous trek of five days.

Context

A new and faster road route through Uttarakhand to reach Kailash Mansarovar, a pilgrimage site nestled in the Himalayas in Tibet, is complete and will soon be open to pilgrims, saving them time and an arduous trek of five days.

About

  • Mt Kailash, a part of the Kailash Range in Tibet, is a place of religious significance to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains as well as followers of the Tibetan religion of Bon.
  • The 6,638m-high peak is located close to Mansarovar Lake, a freshwater body fed by the Kailash Glacier. 
  • The Kailash-Mansarovar road alignment is along the Kali river, which is the boundary between India and Nepal.
  • The end point of road is at Lipulekh Pass, a tri-junction of India, China and Nepal.
  • To access Kailash through Sikkim, China and India opened the Nathu La border point in 2015.
  • Through here, pilgrims travel by bus from the border without the ordeal of trekking and travelling on horse back.

The new road

  • The Darchula – Lipulekh road is an extension of Pithoragarh-Tawaghat-Ghatiabagarh road.
  • It originates from Ghatiabagarh and terminates at Lipulekh Pass, the gateway to Kailash Mansarovar. In this 80 Km road, the altitude rises from 6000 feet to 17,060 feet.
  • Built by the Border Roads Organisation, this new route is believed to be only a fifth of the distancepilgrims had to travel previously. 
  • The new road to Lipulekh will mean 84 percent of the road trip to get to Kailash-Mansarovar will be on the Indian side.

How Pilgrims travel?

  • Pilgrims from India can reach Kailash Mansarovar through three routes — via Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Kathmandu in Nepal — all of which are long and arduous.
  • The route via Uttarakhand involves three stretches.
    • the first stretch is a 107.6 km-long road from Pithoragarh to Tawaghat
    • the second is from Tawaghat to Ghatiabgarh on a 19.5-km single lane
    • the third stretch is the 80 kms from Ghatiabgarh to Lipulekh Pass at the China border, which can only be traversed on foot. This stretch till the India-China pass takes five days to cover.
  • The BRO is converting the second stretch into a double lane road, and is building a new road on the third stretch to allow vehicles.
  • On crossing the International Border into China, pilgrims must walk another 5 km, followed by a road journey of 97 km and the final 43 km-parikrama around Mount Kailash.
  • The last 4-5 km to the border can be trekked till it is completed.
  • One can also travel 130 km by road from Pithoragarh to Ghatiabgarh, from where they have to cover the 80 km stretch to Lipulekh Pass.

How will the new route help?

  • The new road makes this route the shortest and the least expensive way to reach Mount Kailash as it is just a fifth of the distance when compared to other routes, sources said.
  • They added that this also ensure that the majority of the travel is in India (84 per cent) as compared to other routes where 80 per cent of the road travel is through China.
  • However, not everyone is happy about the new development. Neighbouring Nepal claims the new road is built through a bit of territory it considers its own but is controlled by India. The two countries are seeking a diplomatic solution to the dispute.
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