The annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir will start from the Baltal and Pahalgham routes simultaneously on June 11 subject to clearance of tracks and weather conditions.
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Hot water supply, 40 insulated pre-fabricated huts at Panjtarni and Sheshnag in addition to 329 toilets at Sheshnag and 167 at Panjtarni, traditional halting stations en route to the cave shrine situated at an altitude of 3880 metres are some arrangements for the pilgrims being given final touches.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor S K Sinha, who is Chairman of Amarnathji Shrine Board, announced the date of the yatra while addressing a meeting at Pahalgam on Friday to take stock of the arrangements.
He appreciated the measures for setting up eco-friendly pre-fab portable toilets with leach pits instead of deep trench latrines. He asked the Anantnag district administration to ban use of polythene on the entire track and base camps and prevent effluents from toilets or 'langars' (community kitchens) from being dumped into the Lider river.
The Governor also stressed on coordinated efforts between agencies and the shrine board for an incident-free yatra like in the past three years.
Terming Amarnath yatra as a symbol of 'Kashmir's composite culture,' he said it would be incomplete without the active support of the local people and both pilgrim and traditional tourism had proved a boon to the state's economy.
Turning to tourism revival, he said tourist arrivals had gone up from 28,000 in 2002 to over six lakh last year.