Jammu & Kashmir

Amarnath Yatra period extended, to last 62 days this year

A view of Hindu devotees as they march towards Amarnath temple in Kashmir. [FPK File Photo]

Srinagar: Two days after Jammu and Kashmir administration announced the schedule for 62 days Amarnath Yatra 2023, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) began registration for the annual pilgrimage across the country.

The 62-day pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir is scheduled to start on July 1 and continue till August 31.

The journey can be undertaken through two routes, the traditional 48-kilometers route through Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and the 14-kilometers shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.

As per news agency Kashmir News Observer, since morning scores of people, lined up at designated bank branches across the country for registration.

For the first time SASB has introduced Aadhaar authentication-based registration for yatris as compared to manual procedure of previous years.

“The registration has begun at bank branches across the country. The exercise is being conducted at 316 branches of PNB (Punjab National Bank),” PNB Chief Manager Rohit Raina.

“Forms were given to yatris manually till last year. Forms will be system generated now. It is mandatory for all aspiring yatris to get health certificate from designated doctors all over India,” the registration officer said.

The schedule of the pilgrimage was decided at the 44th meeting of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) chaired by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Raj Bhavan. The yatra would commence simultaneously from both the routes, officials said.

The shrine board will also enable live telecast of morning and evening “aarti” (prayers) for devotees across the globe.

The board, which manages the annual pilgrimage, has designated 542 bank branches across the country for the registration of the pilgrims, in addition to the facility on its website.

According to it, no one below the age of 13 years or above the age of 75 years, and no woman with more than six weeks’ pregnancy shall be registered for the yatra.

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