Kathmandu : All the 1,430 stranded Indian pilgrims who were stranded while returning from the Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet have been airlifted to safety with the evacuation of the last batch of 160 people from Nepal’s mountainous regions on Saturday, the Indian embassy here said.
Those rescued from Hilsa and Simikot districts have been moved to Nepalgunj and Surkhet, the two towns with better health care and infrastructure facilities close to the Indian border.
“The evacuation process completed after 160 stranded pilgrims were evacuated today (Saturday) from Simikot and Hilsa. Embassy’s team continues to be stationed to monitor the situation,” the Indian mission tweeted.
“As of today, 1,430 stranded pilgrims were airlifted from Simikot/Hilsa to Nepalgunj/Surkhet and have achieved a zero in both these places,” it said.
The pilgrims were stuck for the past five-six days as continued downpour in western Nepal had blocked the transportation.
The Indian embassy took initiatives to evacuate them and provide necessary medicine and other essential items as soon as they got information, an official said. Commercial flights and Nepal Army helicopters were also deployed for the task over the past few days.
“All of them have been airlifted from Hilsa and Simikot to Surkhet and Nepalgunj, border towns of Nepal. Two embassy staff were also deployed at the site for facilitating evacuation and establishing communication with the family members of the victims,” embassy spokesperson Roshan Lepcha said.
“They were evacuated from Hilsa and brought to Simikot from where they were airlifted to Nepalgunj and Surkhet, border towns,” he said.
He said the embassy had coordinated with local tour operators and security people to carry out the rescue works.
In view of the situation, the Indian embassy had on Thursday issued a revised advisory for prospective pilgrims, suggesting medical examination before taking up the yatra.
The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibetan region of China is considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Every year, hundreds of Indians undertake the ‘yatra’ which involves trekking under inhospitable conditions.
Amarnath yatra from Jammu resumes
Jammu: The Amarnath yatra resumed on Saturday from Jammu after it was suspended for two days due to inclement weather in Kashmir, with a batch of over 2,200 pilgrims leaving for Pahalgam base camp. However, the pilgrims registered for Baltal route were not allowed to leave Bhagwati Nagar base camp as the authorities had suspended the yatra from the 12-km track due to slippery conditions, they said.
The pilgrimage from the traditional 36-km Pahalgam route resumed on Friday.
“The 8th batch of 2,203 Pahalgam-bound pilgrims, including 311 women, left in a convoy of 51 vehicles from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp at around 0240 hours and are expected to reach the base camp in Anantnag district of south Kashmir later in the day,” a police official said.
The yatra was suspended from the Jammu base camp on Thursday to avoid overcrowding in the camps in the Valley after heavy rains coupled with landslides and shooting of stones forced suspension of the yatra from the twin tracks a day earlier.
Due to the suspension of the yatra, thousands of pilgrims also got stranded in the winter capital after they reached here from across the country to undertake the annual pilgrimage in south Kashmir Himalayas.