Over 2,200 pilgrims from the city have registered for Amarnath Yatra, with most preferring to visit the holy cave during the second week of July. Many had set off on the yatra last week itself
Undeterred by the havoc caused by floods on the Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand and the militant attack at Hyderpora in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, many pilgrims from the capital have started registering for the annual Amarnath Yatra, which kicked off on Friday.
Some travel operators in the city claimed that many had set off on the yatra last week itself. According to tour operators, every year nearly 5,000 pilgrims from the capital visit the holy cave.
The mandatory registration for the yatra commenced on March 18, and over 2,200 pilgrims from the city registered their names, with most preferring to visit the holy cave during the second week of July.
Three registration centres
The Amarnathji Shrine Board has approved three registration centres, including Jammu and Kashmir Bank branches at Abids and Pathergati and Punjab National Bank Secunderabad branch in twin cities, for obtaining registration certficates.
The Jammu and Kashmir bank branches are allotted a maximum quota of 2,200 registrations each, and as many as 1,400 pilgrims registered at the Abids branch and nearly 800 at the Pathargati branch.
Incidentally, there is an upward trend in demand.
“Last year, only 800 registrations were permitted at our branch, and this year it was increased to 2,200. Every day about 25 people register their names, and the authorities will be issuing registration certificates till the applications last,” said M.L. Sharma, Manager (Accounts), J&K Bank, Abids.
This apart, pilgrims should obtain medical certificates from shrine board-approved doctors in the capital before applying for registration. Most devotees go on the yatra through packaged trips operated by travel operators or on their own.
Those going on their own reach Vaishnodevi temple, Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, by train, and from there proceed to Baltal or Pahalgams, the base camps for the yatra. However, initially there was an uncertainty among some pilgrims and tour operators about the yatra this year, and a few had even cancelled their trip.
“Following the recent floods and landslips in Uttarakhand, we cancelled our first tour, scheduled for Friday.
“We wanted to ascertain the weather conditions and other aspects in J & K before starting the next trip on July 4. Seventy pilgrims have already registered for the second trip,” says P. Sudhakar Rao, managing director, Rao Travels.