Amarnath Pilgrimage Postponed, To Begin June 15

26 May 2009
The Times of India

Srinagar: The annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine in Kashmir that was to begin June 7 has been postponed by a week due to heavy snowfall on the mountainous track to the temple, an official said Tuesday. The two month long pilgrimage will start June 15 and end Aug 5 this year. The decision to postpone the pilgrimage date came as the track to the high altitude Amarnath shrine, which houses the ice stalagmite, an icon of Hindu lord Shiva, remains covered under a thick blanket of snow, said an official of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). The board headed by Governor N.N. Vohra manages the annual pilgrimage. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus from all over India visit the cave shrine situated at an altitude of 4,175 meters. The SASB was at the centre of the Amarnath land row, which saw Hindu-majority Jammu ranged against the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley last year, over the allotment of forest land to the temple trust.