Pratham Aarti done at Amarnath cave shrine, yatra to start on July 23
Amarnath yatra will start on July 23 this year, however, only 500 pilgrims will be allowed daily through a curtailed single route.Updated: Jul 06, 2020 00:13 IST
Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, GC Murmu performed ‘Pratham Aarti’ or the first prayers at the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir on Sunday morning.
He was accompanied by his principal secretary and chief executive officer of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Bipul Pathak, additional CEO AK Soni, division commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole and other senior officials.
“The LG along with senior officials reached the cave shrine early Sunday morning and performed Pratham Aarti,” said an official of the SASB.
Prasar Bharati, India’s official broadcaster, showed the aarti live. It will do so daily till August 3 at 3 am and 7 pm.
Speaking to the official broadcaster after paying obeisance at the cave shrine along with his family members, Murmu said that he felt the divinity after performing ‘Pratham Aarti’.
“We prayed for peace, development and progress of the entire nation and its people,” he added.
A Special Poja will be held at holy Amarnath Cave for the early end of Covid19 pandemic, said Mahant Dipinder Giri after performing bhumi poojan of Chadi Mubarak at Pahalgam in South Kashmir on Sunday.
The chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir BVR Subrahmanyam had said on Saturday that this year’s Amarnath Yatra would have to be undertaken in a restricted manner, so that the SOPs for Covid-19 are strictly adhered to.
“Given the constraints, a maximum of 500 yatris will be allowed per day by road from Jammu. Therefore, arrangements will have to be limited to this number,” he had said while chairing a meeting of the sub-committee constituted by the Supreme Court.
The curtailed yatra (pilgrimage) is likely to be held from July 23 to August 3 this year from the shorter Baltal route.
On June 5, the top officials of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) performed ‘Pratham Pooja’ in the state’s winter capital Jammu on the occasion of ‘Jayestha Purnima’ signifying commencement of the annual pilgrimage.
The ‘Pratham Pooja’ at SASB’s Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Ashram was conducted by principal secretary to J&K Lieutenant Governor and CEO of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, Bipul Pathak, ACEO AK Soni.
Last year, the yatra was cut short following intelligence inputs of terror threats ahead of the Centre scrapping Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status. In 2018, the pilgrimage was held for 60 days.
Thousands of pilgrims either trek the traditional and longer 45-km-long Pahalgam route or the shorter 16-km Baltal route to the holy shrine every year.
One of the holiest pilgrimages in Hinduism, the Amarnath Yatra attracts pilgrims from India as well as across the world. There have been terror attacks on the route of the yatra in the past. The last attack took place in 2017 on a bus from Gujarat in Anantnag district that left seven pilgrims dead.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir high court has sought to know about the arrangements and various safety precautions in place for Amarnath Yatra in view of Covid-19 pandemic.