According to the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to cancel this year’s Amarnath Yatra, but all traditional religious rituals will be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine as per tradition.
“A threadbare discussion was held with the esteemed members of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board including Swami Avdheshanand Ji, DC Raina, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Prof Anita Billawariya, Sudarshan Kumar, Prof Vishwamurti Shashtri, Pt. Bhajan Sopori, Dr CM Seth and Tripta Dhawan on the present COVID-19 situation before arriving at the decision,” said an official release.
“Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board subsequently held a detailed deliberations with Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, DGP, Dilbag Singh, Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra, and Principal Secretary to Lt Governor, Nitishwar Kumar, who is also the CEO of Shrine Board, and directed that devotees should be enabled to attend to morning and evening Aarti in online mode. He said it would help them to pay their obeisance while also avoiding and travel and exposure,” it added.
The Shrine Board has established a virtual and televised mechanism for live Aarti Darshan from the sacred cave.
“It is important to save people’s lives. So, it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s pilgrimage in the larger public interest. Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board is aware of and respect the sentiments of millions of devotees, and to keep the sentiments alive, the Board shall continue the live telecast of morning and evening Aarti from the Holy Cave shrine,” Sinha said.
Lt Governor also emphasised the importance of adhering to Covid protocol on significant and religious days such as Pratham Pooja and Samapan Pooja. He added that saints visiting the Shrine cave to perform Aarti in accordance with “Shastra” would exhibit COVID-compliant behaviour.
Nitishwar Kumar, CEO of the Amarnathji Shrine Board, stated, “The shrine board has made arrangements for Lord Shiva’s mace, Chhari Mubarak, to be taken to the holy cave on August 22, when the yatra is scheduled to conclude in conjunction with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.”
“The Board of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine has been monitoring the COVID situation in the Union Territory and throughout the country. Our priority is to contain the pandemic and strengthen the health system “he noted.
Nitishwar Kumar, the CEO, stated that both the morning telecast of Aarti at 6 a.m. and the evening telecast of Aarti at 5 p.m., each lasting 30 minutes, will be live-streamed on the Shri Amarnath ji Shrine board’s official website and the devotee-specific app.
Online registrations for this year’s Amarnath Yatra began on April 15, but were suspended a week later due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
The 56-day yatra was scheduled to begin on both routes simultaneously on June 28 and conclude on Raksha Bandhan, August 22.
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