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Kathmandu, [07/10/2023] – Nepal is eyeing the shortest route for Hindu pilgrims to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, with plans to welcome 1 billion travelers to the holy site once an agreement with China is in place. The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, located in Tibet’s Ngari prefecture, is considered the most sacred by Hindus worldwide. It also holds significance for Buddhists, Jains, and Tibet’s indigenous Bonpa faith.
An Ambitious Endeavor
Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Prakash Saud, unveiled an ambitious plan aimed at harnessing the shortest route to Kailash Mansarovar for international travelers. The goal is to facilitate millions of Hindu pilgrims, including those from India, to visit this sacred destination via Nepal.
Kailash Mansarovar holds great allure for Hindus worldwide, and its accessibility through Nepal is seen as a potential game-changer. Even Indians looking to save time and avoid the challenging trek through Indian terrain often opt for the Nepal route through private operators, thereby contributing to Nepal’s foreign exchange earnings.
Overcoming Pandemic-Induced Challenges
The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted travel plans for pilgrims, including those bound for Kailash Mansarovar. While China reopened the pilgrimage this year, increased fees and visa restrictions, especially for Indian pilgrims, posed significant obstacles.
Minister Saud, who recently returned from an eight-day visit to China, including parts of Tibet, shared insights into Nepal’s vision for facilitating pilgrimage. He was part of a delegation led by Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ which visited Kailash Mansarovar to conduct an on-site study aimed at creating a suitable environment for pilgrims from around the world.
Forging Agreements and Building Infrastructure
The plan hinges on forging agreements with Chinese immigration authorities to ensure easy access to Mansarovar for both Nepali and Indian tourists and pilgrims. Officials from both countries are in regular communication for this purpose.
Nepal envisions three routes from its territory to reach Kailash Mansarovar, each located in western Nepal. To make this vision a reality, infrastructure development, motorable roads, and hospitality facilities are essential. Properly executed, this endeavor could open the route to approximately 1 billion Hindus worldwide, making it a milestone for regional tourism promotion.
While China has proposed 14 entry points between Nepal and China for non-pilgrimage travelers and goods transportation, Nepal is studying the proposal to determine its feasibility.
As Nepal endeavors to make this vision a reality, the potential influx of pilgrims and tourists could have far-reaching implications for the region’s tourism landscape.
The aspiration to facilitate a pilgrimage of such magnitude underscores the spiritual significance of Kailash Mansarovar and its allure to millions of Hindus worldwide. It also underscores Nepal’s commitment to enhancing its tourism offerings while preserving the sanctity of this revered site. 🏞️🙏🇳🇵