HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
POKHARA: The number of pilgrims opting for a flight to Muktinath temple did not decline today, a day after an Agni Air plane crashed in the area killing 15 persons, 13 of them Indian
Passengers on board flights to Jomsom, experienced anxiety but the number of pilgrims, especially the Indians did not decline, said Bachhuram Tiwari, former chairman of Pokhara Tourism Council.
“My company alone sent 49 Indian nationals to Muktinath today,” added Tiwari.
Pilgrims, who need to walk for a day to reach Muktinath by road, prefer taking a plane from Pokhara, authorities say. It takes around 16 to 18 minutes to reach Jomsom from Pokhara on a flight. From Jomsom Airport, the temple, which lies in the Annapurna Area Conservation Project.
Pilgrims also have the option of taking a helicopter from the Lake City to Ranipouwa, which is near Muktinath. However, it is the most expensive way to get to Muktinath.
Large number of tourists who come to trek in the Annapurna and other pilgrims visit Muktinath every year. Indian tourists visit Pokhara between March to June and most of them head to Muktinath. Most of the passengers on board Pokhara-Jomsom flight are Indian nationals, airline operators say. About 50,000 Indian pilgrims visit the holy site
Meanwhile, of the six injured in yesterday’s crash, three have been sent to Kathmandu, while others are receiving treatment at Pokhara-based Manipal hospital. Air hostess Roshani Haiju and Danish nationals R Andreas and Emily have been taken to Kathmandu for further treatment, police said.
Three Indian nationals are receiving treatment at Manipal Hospital. Tirumala Kidambi (32), being treated in intensive care unit, is said to be in critical condition. His nine-year-old daughter Tirumala Kidambi and a six year-old are out of danger.