Registration for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra commenced on Wednesday, the External Affairs Ministry which organises the annual pilgrimage said on Wednesday.

According to a ministry statement, this year the Yatra is scheduled for the period June 12-September 8 through two routes. Applicants for this Yatra must be at least 18 years and not more than 70 years as on January 1, 2017, to be eligible to apply. The last date for registration is March 15, 2017.

Stating that there are two routes for the Yatra, it said the route through Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand, which involves some trekking, is estimated to cost about Rs 1,60,000 per person and will be conducted in 18 batches of 60 pilgrims each. 

"The duration of the Yatra is 24 days for each batch including three days in Delhi for preparatory work," the statement said. 

"This route passes through important sites like Narayan Ashram, Patal Bhuvaneshwar. Yatris can also see the scenic beauty of Chialekh Valley, or the ‘Om Parvat' which has the natural occurrence of snow in the shape of ‘Om' on this mountain." 

The second route through Nathu La Pass (Sikkim) is motorable and suitable for senior citizens unable to undertake arduous trekking. 

From Gangtok the route passes through scenic places like Hangu lake, and through the vast landscape of the Tibetan plateau. It is estimated to cost about Rs 200,000 per person, and the duration would be 21 days including three days in Delhi for preparatory work. This year eight batches of 50 pilgrims each are scheduled for this route.

"As in previous years, first time applicants, medical doctors, and married couples would have priority," the statement said. 

"Senior citizens would have priority on the Nathu La route if they opt for it. Four persons may apply and undertake the Yatra together, subject to conditions. Yatris can select both routes indicating priority or select only one of the routes. They will be allotted a route and batch through computerised draw of lots."

In line with the government's push for digital mode of interaction with the public, registration for this Yatra on the website http://kmy.gov.in is a fully online process. 

Applicants have to scan and upload passport pages containing personal details (photo page), address details (last page), and a photo to complete the application. The online form has necessary guidelines in Hindi or English languages to complete the form. Incomplete applications would be automatically cancelled after a cut off date. 

Selection of applicants will be through a fair computer-generated, random, gender-balanced selection process. Applicants will be notified of their selection after the computerised draw through automated email or SMS. After selection, applicants have to pay the confirmation fee as detailed on the website, to confirm their participation. Applicants can also get information, and track the status of their application through interactive helpline number 011-24300655.