JAMMU : The registration for 62-day-long Shri Amarnathji Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir has begun on Monday, the officials said.
The Yatra will commence on July 1 this year and culminate on August 31, 2023, the government of the Union Territory said.
The registration has started for both – the Pahalgam track in the Anantnag district and Baltal in the Ganderbal district. Registration has begun through both online and offline modes.
The offline registration can be done in 542 bank branches across the country including 316 branches of Punjab National Bank, 90 branches of J-K, 37 branches of Yes Bank and 99 branches of SBI Bank, the officials said.
Meanwhile, this year a new feature in registration is Aadhar-based registration in which a thumb scan of Pilgrim will be taken for registration.
As per the guidelines, individuals aged between 13-70 can register themselves for Amarnathji Yatra 2023 and for all pilgrimage health certificate is a must. Women with a pregnancy of 6 weeks or more are not allowed to undertake the yatra.
On March 14, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, while announcing the dates for the holy pilgrimage, said that the administration is committed to ensuring a smooth and hassle-free pilgrimage.
“Hassle-free pilgrimage is the top priority of PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The administration will provide best-in-class healthcare and other essential facilities to all the visiting devotees and service providers. Telecom services will be made operational prior to the commencement of the Pilgrimage. All the stakeholder departments are working in coordination to ensure facilities for lodging, power, water, security and other arrangements for the smooth conduct of Yatra,” LG Sinha said.
The Lt Governor also directed the officials to ensure high levels of cleanliness and to take necessary interventions for sanitation and waste management.
Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) will also enable live telecasts of the morning and evening Aarti (Prayers) for devotees across the globe. Shri Amarnathji Yatra’s App has been made available on the Google Play store to get real-time information about the Yatra, weather and for availing of several services online,” the government said in a statement.
The pilgrimage to the Amarnath Gupha, a holy place for Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, is marked by devotion, religious tolerance and brotherhood.
Inside the Amarnath Gupha is an old ‘Linga’ of Lord Shiva. Pilgrims come from all over India to have darshan here. Hindus believe this was Lord Shiva’s abode, located 168 km from the district headquarters in the Anantnag district.
Located 141 km from the capital Srinagar at an altitude of 12,756 feet above sea level, Gupha lies in the Ladar Valley, which is covered by glaciers, and snow-capped mountains for most of the year.
Common pilgrims are allowed to come here for darshan only for a limited time in summer. There are two main routes to reach here, one is beyond the town of Pahalgam and the other is the route to Baltal via Sonawar, a popular tourist spot in the Ganderbal district.
A 43-km hill trek starts from Chandiwadi and Noonan base camps in Pahalgam. Some people also avail the option to go on horses or palanquins to cover the trek. The shortest route is from Bal Tal which is 16 km but that’s more challenging.
Prior to 1990, the pilgrimage was very exclusive and available to only sadhus and saints to visit. In 1995, the pilgrimage was held for 20 days. From 2004 to 2009, its duration was increased to two months. The pilgrimage now lasts for 40 to 45 days between July and August. (AGENCIES)