New Delhi, June 17 (Calcutta Tube) The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has discovered a lost trekking stretch connected to the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage route and documented all related information in a book released Thursday.
The stretch, from Gala to Kathgodam, was discovered after a team of the ITBP’s 7th battalion embarked on a project to trace those routes that once ‘formed a part of the ancient route of the fabled Kailash-Mansarovar yatra’, Commandant A.P.S. Nimbadia said.
Nimbadia, the chief of the battalion based at Mirthi in Uttarakhand’s border district of Pithoragarh, was leading the team that conducted six expeditions to trace the route.
The trekking expeditions that ITBP personnel undertook were carried out between Tawaghat-Gala, Pithoragarh-Mirthi, Berinag-Mirthi, Almora-Berinag, Almora-Kainchidham and Kainchidham-Kathgodam routes.
Nimbadia said the rediscovered route can serve as an alternative stretch to the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, considered to be the abode of Hindu Lord Shiva. The mountain lies near the Mansarovar lake in Tibet.
Every year a limited number of Indians can undertake the pilgrimage through a hazardous route that is prone to earthquakes and landslides.
Nimbadia said he hit upon the idea of exploring long-lost routes because pilgrims have to suffer a lot due to rains and landslides on the route that they take now.
‘In 2007, huge damage was caused by landslides… Pilgrims were left stranded in Pithoragarh for days without food, shelter and water,’ he said.
‘I thought they could have been immediately rescued if we had even a slight idea about those long lost trekking routes forming a part of the ancient Kailash Mansarovar yatra route. In case of any calamity, we don’t have alternative routes to provide relief to and rescue pilgrims. This route, if revived can be used in case of an emergency,’ he said.
The officer said the Kailash-Mansarovar route has a tremendous religious, historical and mythological significance.
‘It is even said that Dogra warrior Zorawar Singh and his army followed the same route before they attacked Tibet and conquered it.’
He said the rediscovered route also has potential of being a ‘haven for hikers’.
Nimbadia has also collected historical maps, records, letters and photos related to the ancient route and put them together in a book, ‘Kumaon aur Kailash’.
ITBP Director General R.K. Bhatia released the book and praised the ‘inspiring achievements’ of Nimbadia.