A chartered flight , described as the first mountain flight to the holy Kailash Mansarovar took off from Nepalgunj with 38 Indians on board on Monday.
Called as the Kailash–Mansarovar Darshan Flight, the flight offered a magnificent close view of the holy pilgrim places Mount Kailash and the Mansarovar lake.
The view of Mt Kailash was from 27,000 ft.
Situated in the Ngari prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage is considered the most sacred by Hindus across the world. The two natural sacrosanct places are also revered by Buddhists, Jains and Tibet’s indigenous Bonpa faith.
Post the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns, China opened the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in 2023. However, the massive hike in fees and multiple restrictions on visas, especially for Indian pilgrims, meant that practically the Yatra did not happen.
“This chartered flight of Shri Airlines with 38 Indian tourists took around one and a half our to complete the trip,” Keshav Neupane, regional director of the Siddhartha Business Group that started the venture, told PTI.
The maiden flight had tourists from various Indian cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, and many from the states of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
“The flight to Mt Kailash and Mansarovar is cheap, quick, reliable and safe,” Neupane said adding, the next chartered flight will take place in the first week of February.
“We will try to make it as frequently as possible based on the demand,” he said. Mani Lamichhane, director at Nepal Tourism Board, told PTI, “This will help increase border tourism movement. Now, Indians will be able to have a darshan of Mt Kailash and Lake Mansarovar without coming to Kathmandu.”
“The Indian tourists can feel the divinity without doing much hard work. They don’t need to spend days to see Mt. Kailash. They will get to see it within 1.5 hour,” he said, adding, “A new avenue in tourism has opened up with this flight.”
The pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nepal have to travel to Kathmandu. But with this flight, they need not go to the Nepal capital. Nepalgunj is barely 200 kms northeast of Lucknow in India and accessible by road too.