JAMMU: The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine of Lord Shiva, in the south Kashmir Himalayas, is scheduled to start from June 25 this year.
It will end on August 2, according to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the pilgrimage. This decision has been taken by the board at a meeting held in the national capital last week.
The reason behind having the pilgrimage for 39 days has been the hostile weather conditions, which led to 107 deaths last year, when the pilgrimage started on June 28 and lasted till August 13.
Moreover, the cave shrine is located at a height of 3,888 metres above sea level and has two routes leading to it, one from Pahalgam, almost 100 kms from Srinagar, and another from Baltal, 110 kms from Srinagar.
The pilgrimage routes pass via high mountains and glaciers. It consists of steep climb, and most of the track, despite the clearance of snow, is slippery and full of slush. A naturally made stalagmite of snow is an icon of Lord Shiva ans it is also the prime attraction of the cave shrine.
Reports suggest that over 630,000 pilgrims visited the shrine last year.