Make Yatra programme a 60-day pilgrimage: VHP



Jammu: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has asked the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to reschedule its Yatra programme for this year to make it a 60-day pilgrimage instead of the scheduled 55 days.

"We appeal to SASB to review Yatra schedule for 2013 ensuring a minimum 60 days of pilgrimage," State VHP president Ramakant Dubey said.

He suggested the board to begin the Yatra on the occasion of Jyeshtha Purnima to make it a 60-day pilgrimage.

As per the schedule announced by the board yesterday, the 55-day Yatra will commence on June 28 and conclude on Raksha Bandhan on August 21.

Expressing concern over several deaths during the Yatra last year, Dubey asked the authorities to make all necessary arrangements for the pilgrimage well in advance.

He further asked the board to perform the Jyeshtha Purnima rituals in the cave shrine itself.

Meanwhile, a group of hoteliers in Jammu and Kashmir have asked the government to take steps for keeping unregistered pilgrims out of the Yatra programme.

This will help the board in keeping the influx of devotees under check, said Inderjeet Khajuria, President of All Jammu Hotels and Lodges Association (AJHLA).

The association also sought efforts for preservation of the Shiv Lingam made of snow in its maximum form throughout the pilgrimage period.

PTI