• Thursday, December 01, 2022

INDIA

Amarnath Yatra likely to be ‘biggest ever’ this year

Hindu pilgrims walk along a mountain trail during their pilgrimage to the sacred Amarnath Cave, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, on June 30, 2012 near Baltal, Kashmir, India. Devotees brave sub-zero temperatures to hike over glaciers and high altitude mountain passes to reach the sacred cave, which houses an ice stalagmite, a stylised phallus, worshiped by Hindus as a symbol of the god Shiva. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

THE NUMBER of visitors to the cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas is expected to be the “biggest ever” this year, according to the Jammu and Kashmir administration.

Officials said on Monday (11) that the administration is preparing to welcome about 800,000 pilgrims to the shrine during the 43-day season from June 30 till August 11.

‘Amarnath Yatra’, as the pilgrimage to the shrine is known, will be held after a gap of two years.

Union information and broadcasting ministry secretary Apurva Chandra, who chaired a preparatory meeting, said the expectations are that this year’s event will be “twice the size” of previous ones and arrangements are put in place.

“Be it drinking water, lodging or sanitation, the whole administration is equipped to welcome such a huge number of pilgrims,” he said in Srinagar.

Chandra said all the arrangements will be made for the security of the pilgrims. “The nation’s security agencies are on it. The security in Kashmir is good as can be seen by the huge number of tourist arrivals,” he said.

Registrations for the pilgrimage can be done at more than 450 bank branches and through the mobile application of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The pilgrimage could not be organised in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, the yatra was cut short days before August 5, when the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated through parliamentary action.

Eastern Eye

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