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In view of the COVID 19 pandemic outbreak, Amarnath Yatra 2020 has been cancelled as announced by the official spokesperson for the Sri amaranth shrine board (SASB) on 21st July 2020. Initially, the government had mentioned that they will be taking necessary steps and provide devotees an option to offer their prayer at the holy cave of Baba Barfani through one rout. However, with an everyday increasing trend in the cases and with no immediate solution, the Yatra was altogether cancelled. This is a move that will keep not only the devotees but also the locals in Jammu and Kashmir safe from potential virus spread. Amaranth Yatra is one of the most pious and holiest of all the pilgrimages undertaken by devout Hindus. So naturally, it came as a huge shock for various Hindu religious leaders, organizations and right-wing political groups as well. The decision was taken through a video conference call conducted by GC Murmu keeping in mind that around 14,600 people in J and K have been infected.
The spokesman stated, “based on the current and prevailing circumstances, the board has decided with a heavy heart that it is not suitable or even advisable to hold and conduct this year’s Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra and regret to express its cancellation for 2020.” They also added “the board is aware of and respects the sentiments of millions of devotees and to keep the religious sentiments alive. The board shall continue to show the live telecast and promote virtual Darshan of the morning and evening Aarti. All the traditions and rituals will be carried out by the temple’s pundits as per the past practices.” Another reason for the cancellation cited by the officials was that the pandemic has already stretched the health administration to its limit and many health care workers and security personnel are also getting infected. The focus right now should primarily be on containing the local transmissions.
Also present in the meeting was the chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, SABS’s CEO Bipul Pathal Among other significant board officers. They had come together to discuss the supreme court’s order given on 13th July, wherein the court had left the decision of conducting the Yatra to the state administrative board after a complete assessment of the practical and ground realities, arrangements and how the pandemic may seriously cause a devastating effect on the healthcare system in J and K.
Ever since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown in March all the religious places have been shut down for visit to public. Ever since then the cases in Jammu and Kashmir has continued to spike and go up. However, this is not the first time the Yatra has been cancelled. In 2019, the Yatra was curtailed following the repeated terror threats when the union government had decided to completely nullify articles 370 and 35A. Due to these restrictions were imposed on various daily activities and regional movements.
Also Read: Travelling After The COVID-19 Pandemic
Amarnath Yatra Virtual Darshan
Although the Yatra is cancelled the board of Amaranth shrine has decided to offer continuous morning and evening live telecast of Aarti Darshan so that devotees don’t miss out on the holy experience. people can now witness the blessings of Baba Barfani from the comforts of their homes. The telecast will be showcased in the Doordarshan channel. These steps are being taken to not hurt the religious sentiments of the devotees who make all kinds of effort to offer their prayer to the lord. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
With the Amaranth pilgrimage Yatra cancelled for the year 2020 devotees are also simultaneously looking forward to going for the holy Amaranth Yatra for 2022. Planning and ticket booking for next year can be easily done through a reliable tour operator right now! There is still hope, do not feel completely disheartened, and go ahead and secure a seat for your Darshan of baba Barfani for next year of Amaranth Yatra 2022.