One of the holiest places in India, the Amarnath holy site is visited by crores of pilgrims every year and this year it is supposed to start from June 30th and will continue for 43 days.
The centre is anticipating heavy tourists for this year’s Yatra and has asked for helicopter service to take pilgrims directly from Srinagar to Panchtarni which is located around 6kms from the shrine.
As of now, these helicopter services are available for the pilgrims from Pahalgam and Baltal to Panchtarni, from where devotees are either required to ride, walk or take a palanquin to the Amarnath shrine.
Both Pahalgam and Baltal are around 90 km from Srinagar, whereas a new route is being added too from Budgam to Panchtarni this year.
The government is expecting a huge rush this year and to ease this, during the meeting helicopter service will be available from Srinagar.
Additionally, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has also been asked to check if it would be feasible to land the choppers at the foothill of the Amarnath Cave.
The official also added that this would not only reduce the distance but will also let more yatris visit the shrine in a day. He further added that this service would be used only by a few pilgrims because of the cost involved. As such, the fare for this helicopter route is still being worked out.
As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) framed on the directions of the Supreme Court of India, only 15000 registered pilgrims are allowed beyond Pahalgam and Baltal in a day, including 7500 each from Baltal and Pahalgam track.