Incessant rain has held up the first two batches of the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra with officials in the Kumaon region saying that both the motorable and trekking route for the pilgrimage have been rendered unsafe by the downpour.
"Upon orders from the external affairs ministry, we have stopped the first batch at Bundi and the second one at Almora till the route becomes clear for travelling and trekking," said DK Sharma, manager (tourism) of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, the nodal agency for the yatra.
"External affairs ministry has strongly instructed that pilgrims be allowed (to proceed) only when the way gets clear. "The motorable roads ahead of Almora are blocked at several places... the second batch has been stopped there,"Sharma added.
According to ITBP sources, the first batch has been stopped at Bundi camp. "Our team of jawans along with PWD workers is inspecting the routes down from Gunji to Bundi camp. We will allow the pilgrims to advance when the way is cleared of all natural obstacles," said ITBP commandant Kedar Singh Rawat.
Asked how the schedule of the pilgrim batches would be adjusted, what with the first batch being delayed on its way to crossing over into China, Sharma said that the two-day stay at Gunji by both batches will be now cut down to a day.
"That is, only if the weather clears; if it continues thesame way, further action will be taken upon instructions fromabove," Sharma said.