Over 4,000 apply for Mansarovar pilgrimage this year: Minister

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New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said over 4,000 applications have been received for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, 1,400 more than last year.

An additional batch of pilgrims will be sent on the pilgrimage via Nathula Pass this year due to increase in the number of applicants, and 49 more seats will be available for the yatra.

“To facilitate travel of elderly pilgrims, who may require support during the yatra, four family members will be allowed to travel in the same batch instead of two,” Sushma Swaraj said.

The minister was speaking at a function held here for computerised draw to select pilgrims.

“We do not anticipate any vacant seats this year. Earlier, seats were available even after waiting list was taken care of,” Sushma Swaraj said.

The minister specially thanked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister yogi Adityanath, whose first announcement on taking charge was to double the state support to pilgrims from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000.

“Because of the increased aid, the number of applicants from Uttar Pradesh has increased,” she said.

The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is organised by the External Affairs Ministry in cooperation with the Chinese government through two routes.

In 2016, as many as 1,430 pilgrims in 18 batches of 60-strong via the Lipulekh route in Uttarakhand and 50 pilgrims each in seven batches via the Nathu La route in Sikkim undertook the pilgrimage.

–IANS

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