Srinagar: This year’s Amarnath Yatra will be of 46 days’ duration and begin on July 1, an announcement made on Thursday by Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik said.
Mr Malik, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), presided over its 36th meeting in winter capital Jammu. The meeting was attended, besides others, by Swami Avdheshanand Giriji Maharaj and other members and officials.
A spokesman of the board said that the duration of the annual pilgrimage to the 12,729-foot-high cave-shrine in Kashmir Himalayas was determined on the approach set out by a committee headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
The committee had been set up last year to advise the board on the duration and schedule of future yatras.
“The board, keeping in view the foremost concern of the safety and security of the pilgrims, decided that a 46-day yatra would commence on July 1, coinciding with the auspicious day of Masik Shivratri as per Hindu calendar, and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 15,” the spokesman said.
It was also decided that 7,500 pilgrims per day for each of the two routes would be allowed to secure advance registration for the pilgrimage.
As many as 440 designated branches of Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, and YES Bank located in 32 states and Union Territories (UT) will begin to register the pilgrims on April 1. Each intending pilgrim would be required to submit mandatory health certificate.
The board also approved the proposal for online registration of limited number of intending pilgrims per day on pilot basis, which will be in addition to the existing modes of registration.
The board advised its CEO to appeal to all the potential pilgrims to consult their doctors before embarking on the pilgrimage. It was decided that a person below the age of 13 years or above 75 years will not be permitted to undertake the pilgrimage.
The board sought to caution all potential pilgrims to particularly take into account the difficult climate and terrain in the high altitude region of the yatra and prepare themselves fully before embarking on the pilgrimage.