|Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have reviewed arrangements for the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas beginning July 1, officials said Wednesday. The 46-day yatra is scheduled to begin on the twin routes -- traditional Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and the shorter Baltal track in Ganderbal district -- on July 1, the day of 'Masik Shivratri'.|
It will conclude on August 15, the day of 'Shravan Purnima' and 'Raksha Bandhan'. Principal Secretary to Governor and Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), Umang Narula chaired a meeting of heads of various departments here on Tuesday to discuss the arrangements for the yatra, the officials said.
They said a detailed discussion was held on security, accommodation, traffic, water, power, food, hygiene and sanitation. The registration for the yatra commenced on April 2 through 440 designated branches of the Punjab National Bank, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and the YES Bank, located in 32 states and union territories.
In addition, the SASB, which manages the yatra, has approved a proposal for online registration of a limited number of intending pilgrims each day on a pilot basis, the officials said. They said children under the age of 13 years and those above 75 years of age and women who are more than six weeks pregnant will not be registered for the yatra.
Those who plan to travel by helicopter do not require advance registration as their chopper ticket would suffice for the purpose. However, they will have to produce health certificate in the prescribed format before they are allowed to travel, the officials said.
They said, considering the carrying capacity of the two tracks and the available infrastructure, the board had decided that 7,500 Yatris per day on each route, excluding pilgrims travelling by helicopters, would be allowed to register in advance for the pilgrimage. The officials have directed the intending pilgrims to consider the difficult climate and terrain in the high altitude region of the yatra and prepare themselves before embarking on the pilgrimage.