Pithoragarh: The Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra through the Lipulekh pass came to a delayed conclusion this year with the last lot of pilgrims leaving for New Delhi, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) said Wednesday.
Forty-nine pilgrims from the 17th and 18th batches, stuck in Gunji due to bad weather since Saturday on their way back, left Pithoragarh Wednesday evening bringing the pilgrimage to a close, it said.
Had the two batches arrived at the Pithoragarh airbase on Saturday itself when they reached Gunji basecamp, the pilgrimage would have concluded Sunday, KMVN General Manager TS Martolia said.
The pilgrimage which began on June 12 and was to conclude on September 8 came to an end 17 days behind schedule, he said.
It was primarily because of bad weather frequently delaying chopper sorties, which were the only means to ferry pilgrims to Gunji and back, this year as the trek route was damaged due to heavy rain, Martolia said.
It was for the first time in the history of the pilgrimage through the pass that the pilgrims were taken by air force helicopters from Pithoragarh to Gunji and vice versa, he said.
The pilgrimage this year was the most challenging for the Nigam, especially for its staff on duty at high altitude camps of Gunji, Nabhi and Kalpani, as the weather conditions were usually bad resulting in delayed sorties by IAF choppers, he said.
Over eleven pilgrims opted to leave the pilgrimage unfinished after choppers could not take off for days, he said.
However, despite the weather, 906 pilgrims from across the country visited Kailash-Mansarovar through Lipulekh pass this year, he said. (PTI)
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