New Delhi, August 1 (IANS) The government Thursday cancelled the entire Kailash Mansarovar yatra due to "disruption of roads, bridges and tracks" in the wake of the torrential rains and consequent flash floods in Uttarakhand in June.
Hundreds of people lost their lives and thousands went missing following the cloud burst that left a trail of destruction in the state.
"In view of continuing disruption of roads, bridges and tracks on the Kailash Manasarovar yatra route and in the interest of yatris' (pilgrims') safety and security, it has been decided to cancel remaining batches 15-18," the ministry of external affairs, which organises the pilgrimage, said in a statement.
This year, the yatra was to take place from June 9 to Sep 9 with 18 batches of approximately 60 pilgrims each taking the arduous journey, involving trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet under inhospitable conditions.
The ministry had earlier cancelled batches 11-14 on July 8. Batches 2-10 were cancelled in June following the Uttarakhand tragedy.
Only one batch had proceeded before the floods and returned July 11, taking longer than the usual 22 days to complete the yatra due to the disruption in communications.
In 2012, a record number of 774 pilgrims took the yatra, said the ministry.