SRINAGAR: More than two lakh pilgrims have registered for the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, which begins on Thursday.
"As many as 2,11,994 pilgrims have secured advance registration through the designated bank branches, group registration facility and through booking of helicopter tickets for the yatra," an official spokesperson said today after a meeting held here to review the arrangements for the pilgrimage.
The meeting was chaired by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra.
The registration process started on March 1 this year through 440 designated bank branches of the Punjab National Bank, J&K Bank and YES Bank in 32 states and UTs across the country, the spokesperson said.
The ongoing registration trend shows that about 1,200 people are being registered every day and the maximum pilgrims are registering from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana, he said.
It was also noted that the advance registration via the traditional Pahalgam route, which conforms to the traditional pattern of the yatra, was being preferred over the Baltal route, the spokesperson added.
He said that due to reduced helicopter ticket fares for yatra 2017 and yatra 2018, the pilgrims had made bookings in advance in large numbers.
This year, per passenger one way heli-fare for Neelgrath-Panjtarni is Rs 1,600 and Rs 2,751 for Pahalgam-Panjtarni, he said.
The CEO of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Umang Narula urged the pilgrims to secure advance registration for the pilgrimage only from the branches of the authorized banks and not from any other persons or agents who may try to cheat and sell fake permits to them.
The 40-day pilgrimage will conclude on August 26.