Centre’s decision allowing expeditions to Mount Kanchenjunga, along with 136 other mountain peaks in the country, has been vehemently opposed in Sikkim.
The Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SBLAC) has lashed out at the government and has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the notification.
SBLAC convener Tseten Tashi Bhutia while interacting with the media in Gangtok on Thursday said, “We condemn this move and demand immediate withdrawal of the notification as it has hurt our sentiments.”
“Kanchenjunga is not just a peak but our guardian deity,” Tseten Tashi Bhutia further said.
It may be mentioned here that the Sikkimese considers the Kanchenjunga mountain peak as God and an abode of Gods.
They firmly believe that the legendary Yeti roams on its slopes and expedition to the mountain would disrupt the balance and would anger the gods.
It may be mentioned here that the previous Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government led by Pawn Chamling in 2000 had banned expeditions to Kanchenjunga along with six other peaks of the state.
The decision was made after demands for protecting the “holiness” of the mountain peaks gathered wings and people from all walks of life raised voices supporting it.
People consider the mountains as “deities” and respecting this religious sentiment, the earlier SDF government decided to ban all sorts of expeditions in seven peaks of the state.
However, the Home Ministry, conceding to the demand for opening more mountain peaks for mountaineering and trekking, recently announced that 137 mountains peaks would be opened for foreign tourists and mountaineers seeking mountaineering visa (MX) for trekking these peaks.
The 137 peaks are located in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
The Centre’s decision, however, has been welcomed open-heartedly by the adventure travel industry.
It is worth mentioning here that the Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest and K2.
It was first scaled by the Briton, Charles Evans, from the Nepal side in 1953 and a ban on climbing by foreigners was imposed in 1955.
The annual Pang Lhabsol festival is held in Sikkim to worship this “sacred” mountain.