Amarnath Yatra cancelled in view of COVID-19 pandemic; online 'aarti' for devotees
However, Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board said it will arrange online darshan for all the devotees worldwide.
The annual Amarnath pilgrimage will not take place this year due to Covid-19 pandemic. However, "aarti" will be facilitated online for the devotees.
Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha announced the decision after discussions with the shrine board. “Shri Amarnathji Yatra cancelled in wake of Covid-19 pandemic. Decision after threadbare discussion with Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board members. Yatra to be symbolic only. However, all the traditional religious rituals shall be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine as per past practice,” he posted on his Twitter handle.
“It’s important to save people’s lives. So, it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s pilgrimage in the larger public interest,” he added.
He also directed officials to make arrangements so that devotees can virtually attend the morning and evening ‘aartis’ at the Himalayan cave shrine.
This will allow them to pay obeisance while avoiding travel and exposure to the infection, the lieutenant governor (L-G) said. Sinha said that at the shrine all traditional religious rituals shall be performed according to past practice.
The 56-day yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of Himalayas, was supposed to start from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal on June 28 and culminate on August 22.
On April 22, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) had temporarily suspended registration of the pilgrims for the annual pilgrimage in view of a surge in Covid cases.
The pilgrimage was cancelled in 2020 as well due to the pandemic.
In 2019, it was curtailed ahead of nullification of Article 370. By then, 342,883 pilgrims had visited the cave shrine.
Thousands of pilgrims either trek the traditional and longer 45km-long Pahalgam route in Anantnag district or the shorter 14km-long Baltal route in Ganderbal district to the holy shrine every year.
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