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Amid COVID, J&K Admin Cancels Amarnath Yatra for 2nd Year in a Row

All the traditional religious rituals will be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine, as in the past, the board said.

Updated
India
2 min read
Archival image of the Amarnath Yatra used for representational purposes.
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The Jammu & Kashmir administration has decided to cancel the annual Amarnath Yatra for the second year in a row amid the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of J&K said on Twitter on Monday, 21 June.

All the traditional religious rituals will be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine, as per past practice, the tweet said.

According to IANS, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also stressed upon the need to follow COVID protocols on significant days like 'Pratham Pooja' and the 'Samapan Pooja'. He further stressed that saints visiting the cave shrine to perform 'aarti' as per "Shastras" should follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.

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The shrine board CEO said that arrangements have been made for the 'Chhari Mubarak', the mace of Lord Shiva, to be taken to the holy cave on 22 August, when the yatra is to conclude, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.

This decision comes after a meeting of officials, held to decide the status of the annual pilgrimage.

“It’s important to save people’s lives. So, it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s pilgrimage in the larger public interest,” the Lieutenant Governor’s office further wrote.

The shrine board, which has been managing the affairs of the cave temple, is headed by J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The pilgrimage to the cave shrine was expected to attract more than six lakh devotees this year and is scheduled to begin from 28 June and culminate on 22 August, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.

The annual pilgrimage had been derailed in the last two years – first due to the revocation of Article 370 in 2019 and then the COVID pandemic in 2020.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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