The first batch of pilgrims for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2018 arrived at Gangtok last night. This is the fourth year of the pilgrimage from Sikkim. The batch has 33 pilgrims with 24 male and 9 female in the group. There are two Liaison Officers in the batch. A welcome and briefing session was held at a local hotel today.
The Additional Chief Secretary, Shri S.CGupta was the Chief Guest for the day. DIG, ITBP, Shri K.D Dwivedi was the Special Guest. Secretary for Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Shri C.P Dhakal; Special Secretary for Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Ms. Namrata Thapa; CEO, STDC, Shri Suman Thapa, officials and staff from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC), ITBP, Sikkim Mountaineering Association (SMA) and members of the press were present at the gathering along with the yatris.
Additional Chief Secretary, Shri S.C Gupta welcomed the yatris to Sikkim and wished them a successful and blessed journey. He said that it was important to keep the rules and regulations of the place in mind and to co-operate with each other and the supporting staff.
Secretary Tourism then addressed the pilgrims with slokas by Shankaracharaya, setting the religious tone for all. He also spoke on the teachings of Buddha and advised that we should all abide by the holy principles and concluded by stating the fact that the route itself lay from Sikkim meant that this was a blessing for us as well.
Earlier the Special Secretary, Ms. Thapa delivered the welcome address, giving a brief introduction on Sikkim. She said while the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra was an arduous journey, it was also one of the most sought-after religious treks. Then,she succinctly stated that the importance of hospitality, safety and convenience lay in our hands for the pilgrims but it was equally important to receive feedback and suggestions from them.
Deputy Commandant, ITBP, Shri Ganesh Rohtela proffered the safety and medical measures. He also gave a detailed account of the route mentioning the distance and altitude of the various stops to Mount Kailash. He asked the pilgrims to be cautious on the mountain terrain and stressed on starting early and maintaining a steady pace during the trek.
Shri Kunzang Gyatso, President Sikkim Mountaineering Association (SMA) gave a presentation on support and facilities available and narrated his detailed account of the journey. He touched on the importance of communication while commuting.
The yatris will stay two days at 15th mile and two days at Sherathang for acclimatization. There will be a final medical check at Nathula on the 20th before the pilgrims finally cross over for the Yatra.
The Additional Chief Secretary then flagged off the 33 pilgrims from the hotel and wished them a safe journey.
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