Jammu, Jan 31: The 55-day religious voyage to Amarnath, the holy Himalayan cave shrine of Lord Shiva in south Kashmir, will begin from June 28 this year, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) decided on Thursday. The Board finalised the pilgrimage to Amarnath, which would commence on June 28 and conclude on Raksha Bandhan on August 21, CEO SASB Navin Choudhary said.
This decision was taken by SASB headed by its chairman N N Vohra, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir during a three-hour meeting of the Board, which was held in New Delhi. The Board directed the CEO to arrange a special Pooja on Jyesth Purnima on June 23.
The Board noted that even on June 25, the date on which yatra had commenced in 2012, there was heavy frozen snow accumulation in the Domel, Sheshnag and holy cave camp areas because of which it was difficult to set up power and water supply facilities in the yatra camps, a spokesman said. The CEO, said that the yatris will have to furnish a Compulsory Health Certificate while seeking registration for yatra 2013.
He said a committee of medical experts from Union Health Ministry and the state health department had designed the format of the Compulsory Health Certificate and the pilgrims shall now be required to submit information in the form of a self declaration about his and her current health status, past medical history and various ailments from which they may be suffering or may have suffered in the past. To prevent the use of fraudulent health certificates, the Compulsory Health Certificate would be issued only by duly authorised doctors and medical institutes, he said.
All the states and UTs have been asked to furnish a list of doctors and medical institutes who would be authorised to issue the Compulsory Health Certificate to the eligible Yatris of the state and UT, he said. 7,500 yatris, excluding pilgrims who travel by helicopters from Baltal and Pahalgam to Panjtarni, would be allowed to register for the pilgrimage on per day per route basis.
The Board decided that no one below the age of 13 years or above 75 years and no pregnant lady with more than six weeks pregnancy should be allowed to undertake the yatra. Over 100 pilgrims had died during Amarnath yatra last year.