July 08, 2023: China has recently refused to give visas to around 4,000 Indian tourists to explore Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, which are considered highly sacred by Hindus.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China had imposed a three-year ban on travel to Kailash Mansarovar, including for foreign tourists, including Nepalis. Although China announced the reopening for foreign tourists, including Nepalis, Indian tourists were not granted visas. Around 4,000 tourists had applied to visit Mount Kailash, but they have been unable to obtain visas for months. As a result, Indian tourists have turned to alternative routes. Nepalese has already been traveling to Kailash.

While China had initially announced that visas would be issued from the 15th of July, Tenzin Norbu Lama, the Chairman of the Association of Kailash Tour Operators, revealed that it remains uncertain whether Indian tourists will be granted visas. Despite the passage of time, Indian tourists who wish to undertake the Kailash journey are faced with China’s ambiguous policy decisions, resulting in delays and uncertainties. The Chinese Embassy in Delhi has reportedly said that visas have not been issued. The reason why China has prevented Indian tourists from going to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar is still not understood.

Even if the issue of granting visas to Indian tourists is resolved after the 15th of July, travel industry professionals express doubt that confidence in such announcements will be restored. Currently, apart from Indians, more than 500 foreign tourists, including Nepalis, are already on a daily basis visiting Mount Kailash and Mansarovar. Lama said, “This number is quite low. We need to send more tourists to various organizations than the current daily number. We cannot predict when tourists will be able to come based on calculations.”

Nepalis were granted access to visit Mount Kailash from the 1st of May. In the past, between 20,000 and 24,000 tourists, mainly from Nepal, used to go on a pilgrimage to the holy religious site of Kailash Mansarovar annually. The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, known as the “spiritual journey to the center of the universe,” is considered a major pilgrimage site where great power is believed to reside.

Mount Kailash stands at an altitude of 7,714 meters and is considered a religious symbol where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are believed to reside.

Kailash mansarovaar