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Amarnath Yatra cancelled for a second year due to covid
The annual Amarnath Yatra has been cancelled this year too as a preventive step against transmission of covid. The two-month pilgrimage was scheduled to start on June 28. "It's important to save people's lives. So, it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year's pilgrimage in the larger public interest... All traditional religious rituals shall be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine," said the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

NEW DELHI, June 22: The annual Amarnath Yatra has been cancelled for a second year this year because of the continuing coronavirus (covid) pandemic. The nearly two-month yatra was scheduled to start on June 28 and culminate on Raksha Bandhan on August 22.

The office of the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir said: "Shri Amarnathji Yatra cancelled in wake of Covid-19 Pandemic. Decision after threadbare discussion with Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board members. Yatra to be symbolic only..." However, "all the traditional religious rituals shall be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine as per past practice."

"It's important to save people's lives. So, it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year's pilgrimage in the larger public interest," it tweeted on Monday.

Trekkers cautioned against hypoxemia

Amarnath Cave is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. An ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling in the Sawan month. Several lakhs of pilgrims visit Amarnath every year. The shrine is located at an altitude of 14,000 feet. High altitude sickness (hypoxemia) with symptoms of fatigue, nausea and chest pain can occur, even leading to serious breathing problems. Therefore, pilgrims are advised to go for a medical check-up to ensure fitness before undertaking the pilgrimage and register for the yatra well in advance.

The two routes to shrine

Jammu-Pahalgam and Jammu-Baltal are the two routes to the shrine. From Jammu via Pahalgam (Jammu to Pahalgam 250 km), motoring is possible till Chandanwari, a little ahead of Pahalgam. Famous Lidder river is on route. From Chandanwari, the pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine is undertaken on foot or on ponies, dandis or palkies. On foot or by pony 11 km away is Sheshnag lake and another 13 km is the last stop, Panchtarni. The shrine is 6 km away. If coming from Srinagar to take Jammu-Pahalgam-Shrine route, it is 96 km from Srinagar to Pahalgam.

For the Jammu-Baltal route one has to reach Srinagar (Jammu- Srinagar 270 km on NH 44) and from there go to Sonamarg on Leh route (80 km on NH 1) and then to Baltal another 15 km. (Jammu - Udhampur - Kud-Patnitop - Ramban - Banihal - KaziGund - Anantnag - Srinagar - Sonamarg - Baltal: nearly 400 km). Baltal to shrine is 14 km steep. Trek or take ponies, dandis or palkies.

The Government makes all yatra arrangenments. There are transit camps on the route at Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur, Ramban, Anantnag, Srinagar, Baltal and Chandanwari. They will have the facilities to cater for the requirements of over a lakh pilgrims a day.

Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board headed by the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir is the administrator of the Amarnathji Shrine. Its portal, shriamarnathjishrine.com provides the details necessary for the pilgrims.

How to reach Amarnath: Srinagar is the nearest airport. There are daily flights to Srinagar from Delhi and Jammu. Jammu is the nearest railway station. Jammu and Srinagar are also well-connected by road.

Also see:

Amarnath shrine

Amarnath Yatra - The Two Routes

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