As many as 130 pilgrims from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, who were stranded at Hilsa in Nepal while returning from the Mansarovar Yatra, were rescued safely on Tuesday
Media reports state that the devotees were safe at Simikot in Nepal and would be flying back to Nepalgunj on Wednesday and later to Delhi, depending on the weather condition.
According to reports, the devotees undertook the pilgrimage on June 25, after arrangements made by Vasavi Film Cultural Association. The devotees allege that they were then left at one point as the tour operator left in a helicopter during bad weather, without making any proper arrangements.
They also alleged that the operator promised to send the helicopter back, but he did not. However, they managed to complete the yatra, but got stranded again at Hilsa during their return.
Following this, the devotees who were having trouble getting food, contacted Guntur west MLA M Venugopala Reddy, who began coordinating with officials and making arrangements for their safe return.
The incident was also brought to the notice of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who directed the district administration to take all necessary steps. The Indian Embassy at Nepal was also notified.
Mount Kailash and Mansarovar are one of the most popular pilgrimage routes, and thousands of pilgrims travel here every year. It is also one of the most treacherous routes, with scores of people dying here almost every year.
In May this year, several people from Andhra Pradesh from the districts of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam were stranded at various places in Uttarakhand, after heavy snowfall lashed the area.
While one group of pilgrims got stuck near Badrinath as they were on their way to the Kedarnath shrine as part of the Char Dham yatra, the other group which included officials like Srikakulam ZP chairperson Chowdary Dhanalakshmi, were stranded at Sitapur while they were on their way to study the MGNREGA work in Uttarakhand.