Amarnath Yatra cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic

The annual pilgrimage of the holy Amarnath Yatra 2020 to south Kashmir’s Himalayan cave has been cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based upon the circumstances, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board decided that it is not advisable to hold and conduct this year’s Shri Amarnathji Yatra and expressed its regret to announce the cancellation of Yatra 2020,” Raj Bhavan, Government of Jammu and Kashmir said.

“To keep the religious sentiments alive, Board shall continue live telecast/virtual darshan of morning & evening aarti. The traditional rituals shall be carried out as per past practice. Chhadi Mubarak shall be facilitated by the government,” Raj Bhavan further said.

Earlier, the authorities had said that the yatra would begin July 21 onward and go on till August 3. However, the decision is now being rolled back.

The Amarnathji Shrine Board manages the affairs of the yatra to the cave shrine situated at 3,880 meters above the sea level in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

According to the old plan, it was decided that the yatra would take place from one route only and all the pilgrims will have to go through a COVID-19 test. It was said that the temple authorities would telecast puja on television for devotees across the country.

Last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the holy cave of Amarnath and offered prayers. He was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General MM Naravane, spent about an hour at the temple complex.

The Amarnath cave is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism and hundreds of thousands of devotees make an annual pilgrimage to it across challenging mountainous terrain.