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Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra – 2012
  By V. K. Nakhasi

This year Amarnath Ji Yatra is slated to be beginning from 25th June 2012. The process of registration of pilgrims has already begun on 7th of May 2012. As usual both the routes i.e. via “Baltal” and “Chandan Wari” have been decided to be adopted by the yatries. Prior to the beginning of Registration process, various review committee meetings by Amarnath Ji Shrine Board were held to review and finalize the plan which has been kept ready for yatries during pilgrimage.

The Bank has taken the responsibility of opening registration counters at various designated branches. It is stated that as many as 121 registration counters have been established which would enable the proper registration of pilgrims. The details relating to the registration of yatries is also available on the website of Shrine Board. The registration of a pilgrim is must in view of the fact that it provides all information about the movements and latest whereabouts of a yatri. So every yatri is essentially required to register himself before he plans to undertake pilgrimage. Similarly, this year every pilgrim is necessarily required to produce health certificate (Form B) issued by Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP). However, it is observed that pilgrims do not pay any heed towards this aspect, which finally results into the death of pilgrims especially suffering from heart ailments. National Disaster Management Authority has also advised for the production of health certificates before proceeding towards the pilgrimage destination. Previously, there were only 149 registration Counters, but this year such counters have been enhanced to 174 apart from the Post-office authority which has also been directed to provide the provisions for yatrie’s registration. It is obvious that there is increase in the registration network this year. Our sole & main aim is to ensure that the yatries conclude their pilgrimage without any inconvenience, as such all such plans are devised on top most priority with due care & caution.

The decided trend which at present prevails regarding registration stands based on the principle of first come, first serve basis. There is also a provision which enables yatries to download the application form and the essentially required Health certificate form from Board’s website and the registration is being made through a yatra permit which is to be issued soon after the application form by a yatri is submitted. In order to avoid any sort of inconvenience, Shrine Board has started to appeal well in advance to all the pilgrims to ensure early completion of the required registration formalities so that they are able to undertake hassle-free yatra up to the Holy Cave and back. All such appeals and advisories on behalf of the Shrine Board and Govt. are broadcast / Telecast regularly.

There is also a provision for providing helicopter services to the yatries. The yatries who desire to travel by helicopter are also required to produce health certificate before travelling. The helicopter services would be available for both the routes and this year the one way passenger fare of helicopter has also been considerably reduced. The track from Baltal to Cave is a very tough terrain. Although the pilgrims who foot their pilgrimage distance generally feel too much hectic yet by the grace of Lord Shiva, they complete their yatra in a very jubilant environment. The helicopter service this year shall be up to Panjtarni from both the routes. Most of the yatries also make use of ponies, Palkies during their yatra. The yatries are being time and again appealed to strictly adhere to the announced yatra schedule. In view of this yatries are also hoped to read all Dos & Don’ts printed on the reverse of the yatra permit and ensure the strict implementation of the same in letter and spirit. The Board’s website also provides adequate information regarding the yatra schedule by the Administration as such the yatries are also supposed to pay meticulous heed to the onward briefings of these authorities which enables to ensure the safe passage to yatries.

The weather of the area especially from Baltal to cave and Phalgam-Nunvan Base camp to Cave is always required to be kept into consideration before the commencement of the yatra on each day. The traffic Police authorities and other law enforcement agencies are briefed well in advance regarding the yatra schedule.

This year, we are expecting large number of pilgrims from various parts of the country. All such pilgrims soon after the “Darshan” at the Holy Cave, they take chance of visiting other places of Kashmir Valley which are prominent from tourist point of view. Since Kashmir itself is a big tourist industry as such the Govt. is doing lot towards tourist activities. Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage destination enhances the importance of Kashmir tourism. During Amarnath Ji Yatra which generally lasts for about one and a half month the valley remains full of hustle & bustle. The locals of the valley who are one way or the other affiliated to Amarnath Ji Yatra affair i.e. Pony-Wallas, Shopkeepers, Porters, Taxi and other business operators are largely benefitted through the yatra. Their commercial affairs flourish as a result of which they receive opportunities to indulge in highly profitable business.

The people of Kashmir being traditionally protocol caring and much more hospitable try to leave no stone unturned in rendering their fabulous services to the yatries. They try to provide all comforts for the yatries during yatra period. These comforts mainly include ponies, porters, tentage, ration items and other allied need and essential & requirements generally being felt by the yatries. The lovable & polite attitudinal behavior of Kashmiri people, especially local Muslims leaves highly impressionable impact upon the hearts of yatries. It is obvious that the yatries do not carry only marvelous impression about Kashmiri Muslims but the meaning of Kashmiriyat also gets conveyed to the rest of the country.





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