THE Bureau of Immigration in India is providing gratis visas for all tourists stranded in Nepal after Saturday's earthquake that caused widespread damage and over 4,000 deaths.
Usually granted to diplomats and officials or those travelling to India at the invitation of the government, India has now extended gratis visas to tourists who want to leave Nepal as quickly as possible via the country.
K S Dhatwalia, additional director general, Ministry of Home Affairs, said: “In view of recent events in Nepal, we have directed the Bureau of Immigration to provide gratis visas free of charge with minimum validity of 15 days.
“Any foreign national stranded in Nepal seeking to come to India can apply for gratis visa at Indian embassy or can also avail of services at airports (in Delhi and Mumbai which are connected to Kathmandu by flights). We have also made arrangements to grant visa at check posts (if a person is travelling by road).”
Travellers who enter India via Nepal must do so through one of six designated points: Siliguri, Raxaul, Sunauli, Rupadhiya, Gauriphanta, and Banbasa.
The secretariat at Consul General Office of Nepal in Kolkata told TTG Asia e-Daily that all Mount Everest expeditions have been suspended as over 15 climbers are reported dead after the avalanche.
Historical sites and structures in Nepal were razed by the quake including the Dharahara tower and Patan Durbar Square that were part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kathmandu valley.
The famous Basantpur Palace and ancient temples such as Kalmochan Temple have also been severely damaged.