Amarnath Yatra 2019: The 46-day long annual yatra to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir Himalayas will commence on July 1, the day of Masik Shivratri, and would conclude on August 15, the day of Shravan Purnima. The annual pilgrimage starts from Srinagar and Pahalgam and ends at the Amarnath cave temple which is located at an altitude of 3,888 metres, about 141 km from Srinagar.
The yatra attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year who visit the site during Shravani Mela in July-August (Shravan month in Hindu calendar). Considered as one of the holiest shrines of Hinduism, the Amarnath cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to reveal the secrets of the creation of the world and immortality to Goddess Parvati.
According to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, 2,85,006 visited the shrine in 2018. The Board is responsible for the management of the Amarnath Yatra.
The pilgrimage takes up a lot of state administration’s time and there is a deployment of heavy security during the yatra. With a need to man the entire national highway from Lakhanpur to Kashmir Valley and other routes like Baltal and Pahalgam with security forces, the state administration starts deploying personals at least 15 days prior to its commencement.
Citing its commencement, the Election Commission on Tuesday said that the dates for the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir will be announced once the Amarnath Yatra concludes. This year, August 15, the day of Shravan Purnima marks the concluding date for the pilgrimage.
Amarnath yatra has suffered setbacks with militant threats and attacks since 1990. As many as 53 pilgrims have been killed in 36 terror attacks on the annual Amarnath yatra in last 27 years, Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir had said in Lok Sabha in 2017.
In the same year, a group of militants had carried out an attack on a bus carrying the 56 pilgrims. Seven including five women were killed and fifteen were injured.