AGENCY Gangtok: The first batch of 31 pilgrims was flagged off for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nathula Pass in Sikkim on Sunday. K Jayakumar, the Additional Chief Secretary of Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, flagged off two buses carrying the pilgrims for the first climate acclimatization camp located at 15th Mile and 17th Mile enroute to Nathula. Earlier in the day, the pilgrims, including 11 women, and two liaison officers, attended a briefing session at a hotel here, which was organized by the Sikkim government’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Department. Addressing the session, Jayakumar informed the pilgrims about the significance of the journey to the holy place. “The central government and the Sikkim government have put in great effort for smooth conduct of the journey and there is nothing to be worried about,” Jayakumar told the pilgrims. The Commandant of the 48th Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), T S Mangang, briefed the pilgrims about the route chart to Kailash Mansarovar and the acclimatization schedules. Mangang also urged the pilgrims to follow the directions of the liaison officers and adhere to the given timings. He apprised them about the rules and regulations to be followed during their onward journey and advised everyone to remain mentally strong. The pilgrims will stay at 15th Mile and 17th Mile for the first two days and at Sherathang for another two days for acclimatization before undergoing the final round of medical check up by the ITBP at Sherathang on June 19, a day before crossing the Indian territory at Nathula for onward journey towards Kailash Mansarovar on the following day. The first batch of Kailash Mansarovar yatris will return to Gangtok on July 1 and leave for New Delhi by a commercial flight on July 2. The second batch of Kailash Mansarovar-bound pilgrims will arrive at Sikkim on June 20, the Information and Public Relations Department (IPR) said in a release.
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