The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which conducts the annual Amarnath Yatra, has approached Doordarshan for live telecast of morning and evening pooja on DD National during the pilgrimage, which is likely to start next month.
As per the proposal, there would be live telecast of the pooja for half-an-hour each in mornings and evenings on DD National, and it may be telecast on DD Kashir during the Yatra period, G D Tahir, head programming, Doordarshan Kendra, Srinagar, told The Indian Express.
“If it (telecast) takes place, it will be a first ,” he said. “The final decision has to be taken by the headquarters.”
Tahir said, “They [SASB] have approached Doordarshan to explore the possibility of conducting the live telecast…. It is at the planning stage. Earlier we ran recorded programmes during the Yatra. This time they are planning live telecast because yatris (pilgrims) are not allowed in bulk (numbers) due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The proposal comes at a time when discussions are on for a shorter version of the Yatra this year in view of the pandemic. While officials are yet to announce the dates, sources said it has unofficially been informed that it is likely to start on July 21 and end in the first week of August.
The annual pilgrimage may be cut down to 15 days, and take only the shorter Baltal route, sources said. The Baltal trek is 14 km from the base camp at Baltal, in Ganderbal district, although most pilgrims choose the Pahalgam route, which is approximately 30 km from Chandanwari in Anantnag district.
In a statement, the administration informed that “all rituals with morning and evening pooja/arti shall take place with effect from July 5 (Vyas Poornima) to August 3 (Raksha Bandhan), notwithstanding the delay in a formal announcement of the dates.
Ganderbal’s Deputy Commissioner Shafqat Iqbal told The Indian Express on Wednesday that work to prepare the trek has been completed. “We have made the preparations from our side and we are waiting for further instructions,” he said. Health Department officials in Ganderbal said the department has suggested that pilgrims below 15 years and above 60 years shouldn’t be allowed this time.