J&K: 20,000 registered for Amarnath pilgrimage

The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board began the registration process on Wednesday for the yatra which will commence on June 29 and culminate on August 13.

Last Updated: May 12, 2011, 23:07 PM IST

Jammu: Nearly 20,000 pilgrims registered
themselves in just two days for the annual pilgrimage to the
13,500 feet-high Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board began the registration
process yesterday for the yatra which will commence on June 29
and culminate on August 13.

"Registration counters have been set up at 121 designated
branches of the J&K Bank, 24 branches of the YES Bank and
four of District Cooperative Banks," an SASB spokesman said,
adding that the e-registration system was also operational.

Over 20,000 devotees from across the country have so far
registered themselves for the annual pilgrimage, J&K Bank
officials said.

The Shrine Board, at its meeting on February 18, has
curtailed the period of the annual pilgrimage by 15 days. The
yatra will commence simultaneously from Baltal and Chandanwari
routes on June 29 and culminate on August 13.

Traditionally, the yatra used to run for two months
beginning June 15.

There has been no increase in the fee of Rs 15 for
registration either through the counters or the internet, the
spokesman said.

Opposing curtailment of the yatra, the Baba Amarnath
Yatri Niyas (BAYN), an amalgam of around 30 religious, social
and trade organisations, has vowed to commence the pilgrimage
on June 15. The VHP has also threatened to start the yatra
from June 15 and alleged that the decision to curtail the
yatra was taken on the dictats of a separatist leader.

The SASB has defended its decision saying the decision
was taken to ensure safe and smooth conduct of the arduous
pilgrimage.

PTI