Thick snow cover at Kashmir’s Amarnath cave shrine and on the route leading to it is posing multiple risks to pilgrims and has increased challenges before the organisers of the annual pilgrimage, due to start here from June 25.
Although the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has doubled its efforts to clear the track for the over-350,000 registered pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra 2012, the inclement weather that persisted until two days ago has made some stretches dangerous for trekking, an official said.
Navin K. Choudhary, SASB’s chief executive officer, who recently surveyed the route, found the cave shrine and the stretch between Sheshnag and the Mahagunus pass, which is at 14,500 feet above the sea level, still covered with thick snow.
Choudhary said he was “confident” the pilgrimage would start as scheduled, but his optimism rested on the hope that the tracks would be cleared before June 25.
“Weather conditions can change in a matter of minutes at such heights,” an SASB spokesperson said. Combined with unpredictable weather and lack of oxygen at that altitude, the snow could multiply the dangers for pilgrims proceeding on a steep and slippery track, he said.
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