Hindu groups to view route to Amarnath pilgrimage

The Baba Amarnath Yatra Niyas and VHP want the annual pilgrimage to start by June 15.

Updated: Jun 12, 2011, 12:59 PM IST

Jammu: Hindu groups will be given an aerial view of the snowbound trek to the Amarnath cave in Jammu and Kashmir in a bid to make them realize that the pilgrimage cannot start now.

The Baba Amarnath Yatra Niyas (BAYN) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) want the annual pilgrimage to start by June 15.

The state government disagrees and says it can start only on or after June 29 because heavy snowfall has made the mountain tracks slippery.

The government has finally decided to give the leaders of the two groups a helicopter ride so that they realise the risks.

An official said that the Hindu groups needed to know the pace of the snow clearance operations.

These groups had threatened to go ahead with their plans despite Chief Minister Omar Abdullah declaring that he will not allow pilgrimage before June 29.

The government and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) say the large volumes of snow on the tracks towards the shrine, located at a height of 13,500 feet, could pose serious dangers to the pilgrims.

The Amarnath shrine, in south Kashmir, attracts nearly half a million pilgrims every year.

IANS