After having remained suspended for two consecutive years in view of Covid-19, the 43-day Amarnath pilgrimage to South Kashmir Himalayas will begin in the Union Territory on June 30.
It will commence “with all Covid protocols in place and culminate, as per the tradition, on the day of Raksha Bandhan,” tweeted the office of the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday soon after a meeting of the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board, which was chaired by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. “We had an in-depth discussion on various issues regarding the upcoming Yatra,” it added.
The Yatra had remained suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, it had announced a 56-day Yatra from both the Baltal and Chandanwari routes from June 28, but it was later called off due to rise in Covid cases.
However, in view of improved situation this year, the Shrine Board has decided to resume the Yatra from both the Baltal and Chandanwari routes on June 30.
Pointing out that the online registration for Shri Amarnath ji Yatra will start from April 11, an official statement quoting the Lt Governor said the “government is introducing Radio Frequency Identification system for pilgrims to track their movement en route to ensure their well-being”.
The Shrine Board has decided that the Yatra would commence simultaneously from both the routes — the Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district. The Board has also decided to put in place a daily route-wise pilgrims cap to 10,000, excluding those who would travel by helicopters. The Board has also decided to extend the free-of-cost battery car service for pilgrims at 2.75 km long Baltal to Domel stretch.
The Lt Governor also issued instructions to send special invites to Akhada Parishads, Acharya Parishads for facilitation of Sadhu and Sant Samaj.
The Lt Governor said all suggestions made by the Board members would be acted upon by the officers concerned. He also directed officers to complete the ongoing infrastructure upgrade work by the end of May. He stressed on ensuring world-class sanitation arrangement on the track and in Yatra camps. He said all utilities on the track routes should be ready and made functional well before the commencement of the Yatra.
The Board will also enable live telecast of morning and evening aarti (prayers) for devotees across the globe. “Shri Amarnathji Yatra” app has been made available on the Google play store to get real time information about the Yatra, weather and for availing several services online.
Nitishwar Kumar, CEO, SASB, said with increased capacity for accommodation, new yatri niwas bhawans, augmented health facilities, upgraded tracks, telecommunication facilities, heli services, SASB app, year-long insurance for ponywaalas, many unique initiatives had been taken for the pilgrims and service providers.