Registration for Amarnath pilgrimage begins

Amid criticism over curtailment of the yatra, the registration for the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir commenced on Tuesday.

Jammu: Amid criticism over curtailment of
the yatra, the registration for the annual pilgrimage to the
holy cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir commenced on Tuesday.

The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board has begun registration
of devotees for the annual pilgrimage beginning June 29, an
SASB spokesman said here.

"The registration process commenced today at 149 bank
branches across the country. The e-registration system has
also started functioning," he said.

"The registration has started for pilgrims visiting
the shrine from both Baltal and Chandanwari routes," the
spokesman said.

The 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, he said.

The Shrine Board, at its meeting on February 18 this
year, 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 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.

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

PTI