Coronavirus fears hit Manasarovar trip bookings; Nepali entrepreneurs disappointed

File: Kailash Manasarovar

Kathmandu, March 9

The global epidemic of the novel coronavirus, which originated in China, has severely affected bookings for the Kailash Manasarovar trips for the spring-summer season this year. Nepali travel entrepreneurs, who would earn millions of rupees in the past year from the pilgrims, have been disappointed as they are not sure if any group would go to the holy site in Tibet.

Between May and September every year, around 30,000 Hindus from India travel to the holy lake in Tibet via the Nepali route of Kathmandu-Nepalgunj-Hilsa. They used to book various tour packages around this time. However, no one has made a booking so far, informs Yoga Raj Sharma Kandel, the general secretary of the Helicopter Society of Nepal. He says the Chinese government has not made any decision about whether to allow the pilgrims to go to Manasarovar this year.

“On the one hand, China is undecided,” he says, “On the other, all the pilgrims are terrorised.”

Besides the air route involving Nepalgunj-Hilsa, budget pilgrims also use the Kathmandu-Kerung land route to go to Manasarovar. But, in its bid to control the possible infections, the Nepali and Chinese governments have blocked the crossing point in Kerung.

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