Over one lakh pilgrims registered for Amarnath yatra

Over one lakh devotees have got themselves registered so far for the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas which begins on June 29 this year.

Updated: May 17, 2011, 21:03 PM IST

Jammu: Over one lakh devotees have got
themselves registered so far for the annual pilgrimage to the
cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas which
begins on June 29 this year.

The number of pilgrims for the Yatra to the 13500-ft
shrine has crossed the one lakh mark with the registration
process entering the eighth day on Tuesday, the nodal officer for
the pilgrimage said.

Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) began the
registration process on May 10 for the over month long yatra
which will commence simultaneously from Baltal and Chandanwari
routes on June 29 and culminate on August 13.

The Shrine Board at its meeting on February 18
curtailed the period of the annual pilgrimage, which used to
be for two months, by 15 days.

Opposing curtailment of the yatra period, the Baba
Amarnath Yatri Niyas (BAYN), an amalgam of some 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.

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

Registration counters have been set up at 121
designated branches of the J&K Bank, 24 of the YES Bank and
four of the District Cooperative Banks, a SASB spokesman said.

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

Meanwhile, SASB CEO RK Goyal in Srinagar said out of
1,04,341 Yatris registered so far, 56,246 have opted for the
traditional Pahalgam route in Anantnag district and 48,095
have secured registration for the shortest Baltal route in
Ganderbal district.

The CEO appealed to all the intending Yatris to ensure
that they embark on the pilgrimage only after obtaining, in
their own interest, a valid Yatra Permit, through internet
based e-Registration facility or any of the 149 designated
Bank Branches.

This would ensure against any avoidable inconvenience
to them on their arrival in the State, Goyal said.

He said as a result of several new initiatives taken
by the Board to bring about progressive improvement in the
Yatra management, all the registered pilgrims have been
provided free accident insurance cover of Rupees one lakh.

This insurance cover has the provision of free of
charge Accident Insurance Cover for every Yatri who possesses
a Yatra Permit. This facility is not available to the
un-registered Yatris, he said.

The CEO said the Board has also issued a detailed
advisory for the Yatris visiting the Holy Cave, which are
printed on the reverse of the Yatra Permit and also available
on the Board`s website.

He said the Yatris need to strictly adhere to these
directives as they have to undertake an ardous trek through
high mountains in adverse weather conditions.

PTI