Amarnath Samiti warns of agitation if pilgrimage delayed

June 11th, 2009 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Amarnath Shrine Jammu, June 11 (IANS) The Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS), a conglomerate of over two dozen Hindu groups, Thursday warned of an agitation if the pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave temple in the Kashmir Valley was further delayed.
The government should be ready to face the “wrath of the people” if the pilgrimmage to the Hindu shrine was delayed beyond June 15, said SAYSS, which last year spearheaded the Amarnath land agitation in Jammu.

The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the annual pilgrimage to the Hindu shrine, has been saying the mountain tracks to the Himalayan cave shrine devoted to Hindu god Shiva are covered with heavy snow.

Though the government has not announced a further delay, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the June 15 start of the pilgrimage due to heavy snowfall recently.

Both the tracks to the shrine - a traditional route involving a 46 km trek from the tourist resort of Pahalgam and a shorter and steep route via Baltal - are covered with heavy snow, said an SASB official.

This summer the ‘yatra’, or the pilgrimage, was first scheduled to start June 7, and then it was postponed to June 15 owing to snow on the tracks to the temple located at an altitude of 13,500 feet. The shrine, which houses the ice stalagmite, an icon of Hindu lord Shiva, attracts nearly 400,000 pilgrims every year.

SAYSS convenor Suchet Singh said the delay was hurting the religious sentiments of the devotees.

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