CHENNAI: SR Balasubramaniam, of Sujana tours in West Mambalam, has travelled to Kailash Mansarovar seven times before this. None would be remembered quite like this trip, his most recent.
Balasubramaniam had escorted a group of 23 pilgrims. Nineteen of them landed in the city safely on Wednesday night after being stranded in the inhospitable mountainous terrain of Simikot in Nepal for about five days.
The four others had already taken the last four available tickets on a flight out of Simikot on June 28 and reached Chennai on June 29
“Simikot is a place that can host a maximum of 400 people. This time around 550 people were left stranded, some for even a week,” said Balasubramaniam.
For 69-year-old P Annapoorani, the oldest in the group, a trip to Kailash was long overdue.
“I said to myself, I’m getting old; If I don’t go this year, I would never be able to go,” she said.
“We are thankful for the Central and State Governments for their part. We are glad to be back here,” she added.
The group left Simikot on Tuesday and reached Nepalgunj from where they got to Lucknow and later reached Chennai on Wednesday night.
“We were afraid we would run out of supplies that the hoteliers used to serve us food. Other than that, we were hopeful that we would return safely” said Anitha D, before joining her children who awaited her arrival at the airport.