Amarthnath Yatra 2016 will start on July 2, to last 48 days

Pilgrims move towards holy cave shrine of Amarnath through mountain trails in Baltal. (File/PTI photo)

Pilgrims move towards holy cave shrine of Amarnath through mountain trails in Baltal. (File/PTI photo)

Jammu: Amarthnath Yatra 2016 in South Kashmir Himalayas will be of 48 days beginning July 2 this year.

The decision came at a meeting of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board chaired by Jammu Kashmir Governor N N Vohra in New Delhi on Thursday. Keeping in view the foremost concern of safety and security of pilgrims, a 48 day yatra will commence on July 2, auspicious day of Massik Shivratri as per Hindu calendar and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandan) on August 18, an official spokesperson here said.

Those present at the meeting included Board members, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Shri Vijay Dhar, Ms. Sunita Narain, Pt. Bhajan Sopori, Shri D.C. Raina, and Dr. Chander Mouli Raina, besides its Chief Executive Officer P.K, Tripathi, and Additional CEO Jitendra Kumar Singh among others. H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar participated in the discussions via tele-conferencing.

Considering the present carrying capacity of both the tracks from Pahalgam and Baltal, the Board decided to allow only 7,500 pilgrims on each route daily. This number will be apart from the pilgrims who would travel to Panjtarni by helicopter.

To enable pilgrims get themselves registered in advance for the pilgrimage, the board decided to make available yatra permit forms at 432 designated Bank branches of Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, and Yes Bank in 32 states and union territories from February 29.

Reiterating that every pilgrim must obtain the compulsory health certificate (CHC) from the doctors/ hospitals nominated by the states and UTs before applying to the nearest located designated Bank branch for getting a yatra permit, the Board advised the CEO to once again send out an appeal to all potential pilgrims to consult their doctors before embarking on the pilgrimage even after having obtained a health certificate some weeks earlier. It also asked the CEO to take timely steps for ensuring uninterrupted telecom connectivity in the yatra area during the current year.

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