The BRO project in Uttarakhand will now allow pilgrims to travel to Lipulekh Pass by road | ANI | Twitter
The BRO project in Uttarakhand will now allow pilgrims to travel to Lipulekh Pass by road | Representational Image | ANI | Twitter
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New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday inaugurated the road route through Uttarakhand to reach Kailash Mansarovar, a pilgrimage site nestled in the Himalayas in Tibet, that almost goes up till Lipulekh Pass at the India-China border — 17,000 feet above sea level. Indians and Tibetans have been holding border trade at the Lipulekh Pass for quite some time now and the new road connects the pass to Dharchula, a town in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh distrtict. 

Pilgrims from India can reach Kailash Mansarovar through three routes — via Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Kathmandu in Nepal — all of which are long and arduous.

The route via Uttarakhand involves three stretches. The first stretch is a 107.6 km-long road from Pithoragarh to Tawaghat, the second is from Tawaghat to Ghatiabgarh on a 19.5-km single lane, and the third stretch is the 80 kms from Ghatiabgarh to Lipulekh Pass at the China border, which can only be traversed on foot. This stretch takes almost five days to cover and is a tough journey. Several accidents have occurred on this route.

The Border Roads Organisation is converting the second stretch into a double lane road and has built a new road on the third stretch to allow vehicles. It has completed 76 km of the 80-km stretch so far, cutting travel time to just two days by a vehicle.

The last 4 km of the road till Lipulekh Pass is expected to be completed by year-end. 

This road is important for strategic and tactical reasons. The Sikkim and Nepal routes are much-longer and the road via Pithoragarh will ensure that most of the journey is within Indian territory. This is not the case with the other two routes that require pilgrims to enter Chinese territory.


Also read: New road for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims is ready, will cut travel time by three days


Nepal considers Lipulekh its own territory 

However, Nepal claims that the Lipulekh pass comes under its territory and lies in the Dharchula district in Sudurpashchim Pradesh. It is marked by the Kalapani river, one of the headwaters of the Kali River in the Himalayas at an altitude of 3,600–5,200 meters.

India has always considered Lipulekh as a tri-junction with the territory to the east of the pass as the Nepalese territory.

The Kali River forms the boundary between India and Nepal in this region. According to India, the headwaters of the river are not included in the boundary.

However, Lipulekh has always been on the Indian map and Nepal hasn’t protested until now. China also accepts that it belongs to India and that’s why it is allowing it as a route to Tibet. 

India had closed Lipulekh from 1962 to 1991 due to the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The locals, Byansis of Kumaon, then used the Tinkar Pass for all their trade with Tibet.

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21 Comments Share Your Views

21 COMMENTS

  1. The Kalapani area now claimed by Nepal has never been under Nepalese control. It belongs to India and since 1962, it is under active control of India. Why suddenly Nepal makes a claim now. Even if some old treatise or agreement gives credence to Nepal’s claim, the subsequent postions have altered it and accepted by Nepal’s own Map all along, via a vis India. At this juncture Nepal can make an agreement to use the Indian constructed roads for its trade and pilgrimage purposes with India’s Ladakh /Kalapani and Tibet areas through Lipulekh pass. Its a Win Win situation – only for gain and no loss to Nepal. As of now China has no issues. But once this strategic pass becomes disputed, China may liverage for its own plans. Is it the result Nepal wants.

  2. It is all about the road India constructed for kailash mansarovar yatra.
    Now travellers will not go to nepal nd directly go to kailash mansarovar. Which will result in economic loss to nepal.

  3. THE PRESENT LAND DISPUTE BETWEEN INDIA AND NEPAL SHOULD BE SHORTED OUT AMICABLY AND SATISFACTORILY BETWEEN TO NEIGHBORS FOR ONCE AND ALWAYS. THE DISPUTED LAND DOESN’T HAVE MUCH COMMERCIAL VALUE AS OF NOW EXCEPT STRATEGIC VALUE. INDIA BEING A ASIAN POWER AND BIGGER COUNTRY SHOULD SHOW MAGNANIMITY AND HANDOVER THE LAND EAST OF RIVER TO NEPAL AND ROAD COULD BE USED BY BOTH COUNTRIES.

    • Idiotic suggestion, without any strategic planning and thought. Would have complicated consequences if followed.

      • Why India should oblige to a neighbour speaking from the mouth of a country occupying our vast stretch of land since many decades

  4. Dear Nepalese brethren
    Please confirm the fact that who actually is your northern neighbour, Tibet or China. Everything else will be sorted out automatically.

  5. its very nonsense and madness behaviour of indias towards nepal …that they have been encroaching the other terrotory and claiming as if they are theirs own….How shameless leaders….taking advantage time and again and in these pandemic difficulties…..

  6. I am a Nepalese and all the Nepalese and records show that India has built 19 km road on Nepalese territory which is seriously not ok…we value our southern and northern neighbour equally but as far as boarder encroachment and breaking sovereignty is concerned, our blood boils….let’s do right thing..if its Nepalese territory then back off India.. if its Indian territory for real then go for it…

    • It is Indian territory. There is no mahakali or Kali river near Lipulekh – anyone who has gone to Lipulekh can see this. Also, Nepalis already occupied Terai because British Gave them Indian territory in a deal despite British Army coming to outskirts of Katmandu – now they are trying to grab more!

    • Why changing Maps now if it was a part of your territory all along ……seems you have woken up all of a sudden ??

  7. Article 5 of the Sugauli Treaty between the East India Company and Nepal which defines the territory of Nepal, states that the river Kali is the border demarcation line between two countries, Nepal and India.
    And, the map prepared thereafter by then British India ( Nepal didn’t have any technical knowhow to prepare the maps then) in January 2, 1819 clearly mentioned the Kali river ORIGINATING from LIMPIADHURA as the actual source of Kali river. Other maps published in 1827, 1834, 1835, 1837 1846, 1848, 1850 and 1856 had also marked the Kali to the river coming from Limpiadhura. In all these maps prepared by British India illustrate that the very river originating from Limpiadhura is actually Kali river.

    It was only during Indo-China war in 1962, Indian army came, may be due to strategic benefits in that part of Nepal’s territory and never left. Nepal which had stayed neutral during that war, didn’t oppose this act immediately, just not to be seen as supporting any one of the parties.

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