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Sufi to debut at Amarnath yatra

For the first time in the century-old history of the Amarnath pilgrimage in Kashmir, Pakistani artists will take part in a sufiyana music festival.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 01:43 IST
Arun Joshi

For the first time in the century-old history of the Amarnath pilgrimage in Kashmir, Pakistani artists will take part in asufiyana music festival at the launch of the pilgrimage on June 11 this year. The pilgrimage will go on till August 9.

The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board is hoping to get the two best known Sufiyana singers from Pakistan, Abida Parveen and Rahet Fateh Ali Khan - nephew of the legendary sufiyana singer Fateh Ali Khan. Santoor maestro Shiv Kumar is expected to lead the Indian contingent .

Another attraction this time would be recitation of " Ram katha" by Murari Bapu at the cave shrine.

More than half a million pilgrims are expected this year, while the number was four lakh last year.

The schedule for the Amarnath pilgrimage was announced on Friday and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board spokesman made it a point to stress that the yatra duration was decided by the Chairman of the Shrine Bnoard, Governor Lt. Gen. S K Sinha, in consultation with Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

It was a bid to underscore the harmonious relationship between the head of the government and the head of the state on the pilgrimage which had run into several controversies in the last two years.

The pilgrimage will be routed through both the traditional Pahlagam - Chandanwarui route as also through a shorter route via Baltal. Snow-clearing operations are likely to wind up by mid-April, after which arrangements for lodging the pilgrims will be made. Steps are underway to widen the track to up to 6 feet from Baltal to Sangam and 4 feet from Sangam to the holy cave.

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 01:28 IST