New Delhi: Owing to the current Covid situation in the country, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday decided to cancel the annual Amarnath pilgrimage. The shine board said that all the traditional religious rituals will be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine as per past practice. The decision was announced by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha after discussions with the shrine board.Also Read - UP Becomes First State to Clock 5 Crore Vaccination Mark As India Administers Over 48 crore Doses So Far

However, the devotees may note that the “aarti” will be facilitated online for the devotees. Also Read - Odisha: Bhubaneshwar Claims to be Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

To recall, the Amarnath Yatra was scheduled to start from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal on June 28 and culminate on August 22. The Amarnath pilgrimage is a 56-day yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. Also Read - Maharashtra Lockdown: Section 144 Imposed in Mumbai, BMC Says Night Curfew to Continue Till 5 AM Daily | Full List of Guidelines Here

The pilgrimage was also cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The registration for the yatra, which started on April 1, was put on hold from April 22 due to the raging second wave of COVID-19.

Last year also the yatra was cancelled as well due to the unprecedented rise in the COVID cases and rituals were broadcasted live from the shrine cave. In 2019, it was curtailed mid-way ahead of the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status granted under Article 370.

While the decision to hold or cancel the yatra is taken by an advisory committee in the Union Territory of J&K, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, the Union government can also recommend.

The final call, however, is taken by the committee along with members of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), responsible for planning and execution of the annual pilgrimage.