Snowfall disrupts Amarnath pilgrimage schedule

26 June 2014
The Hindu
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar: Unusual mid-summer snowfall on the track to the Amarnath cave shrine has disrupted the schedule of the annual pilgrimage in Kashmir that would have normally started on June 28. Sources told The Hindu that two high-level meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday decided to reschedule the pilgrimage on the Pahalgam route even as it was unlikely to be disrupted through the Baltal route. The meetings headed by Governor Narendra Nath Vohra after his extensive aerial survey led to the shift of the registered pilgrims of the Pahalgam route of June 28, 29 and 30 to the Baltal route, which would open as per the original schedule on June 28. Mr. Vohra is Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, which conducts the annual pilgrimage spread over the two months of summer. 'The very large accumulation of snow in the Yatra area, and the slow rate of snow-melt, has caused serious concern to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board whose officers have been undertaking regular assessments of the ground situation,' an official spokesman said. He said that Mr. Vohra has been holding aerial reconnaissance of the two Yatra routes regularly since the day snowfall threatened the pilgrimage schedule last fortnight.