The registration of yatris (pilgrims), on both Pahalgam and Baltal routes, will be through 110 designated branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank all over India and online.
Effecting change in the schedule of the annual Amarnath Yatra, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has decided to start two month long pilgrimage to the cave shrine from July 1 this year by throwing open both the routes simultaneously. It has also decided to put some restrictions on the helicopter services in view of environmental concerns and to prevent melting of the ice-lingam.
Authoritative sources told the News Agency that Shri Amarnath Shrine Board has decided to throw open traditional route of Pahalgam as well as shortest path of Baltal simultaneously on July 1 for pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in the South Kashmir. The pilgrimage will continue till Raksha Bandhan which falls on August 24.
"Though yatra was beginning in the month of June till last year yet only shortest route of Baltal was being put to use for initial 20 days because of huge snow and avalanche between Pissutop and Sheshnag on the traditional route whose clearance was taking much time", they said, adding "due to this only limited number of pilgrims were having darshan of the ice-lingam on initial days of yatra".
"By effecting change in the schedule of the yatra this year, the Shrine Board will be able to throw open both the routes at the same time after proper snow clearance operations on traditional route and this will help in smooth conduct of yatra and minimize the inconvenience to the pilgrims on account of delayed start of yatra from Pahalgam and limited movement on shortest route", they said.
Keeping in view the environmental concerns, the Shrine Board has also decided not to allow helicopters to fly up to cave shrine, which was a practice till last year. "This will also help in preventing melting of ice-lingam till the end of the pilgrimage", the sources said.
Though chopper services will be allowed from both the routes right from the beginning of the yatra till its completion, yet there will be common termination point at Panjtarni, they said.
It is pertinent to mention here that helicopter service from Pahalgam was started for the first time during last pilgrimage that too one month after the start of yatra.
They disclosed that tenders for operating chopper services on both the routes will be floated within next one month so that aviation companies would be able to make necessary arrangements well in time. Till now, three companies—Himalayan Heli, Pawan Hans and Deccan were operating chopper services.
"There will be no addition in the pre-fabricated sheds on the routes this year and preference will be given to tentage", sources further said while disclosing that Shrine Board will have two or three rounds of meetings with different agencies during next two months to finalize arrangements for the smooth conduct of the yatra.