Amarnath Yatra pilgrims asked to avoid alcohol, women to wear pant-shirt, track suit

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Pilgrims, undertaking Yatra to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalaya, commencing from June 29, have been advised by the authorities to avoid consuming alcohol, caffeinated drinks, smoking, sleeping pills and strong painkillers during the trek.

Meanwhile, Pratham Pooja was organised on June 9 on the auspicious occasion of Jyesht Purnima at Chandanwari on the traditional Pahalgam route for the smooth conduct of annual Amarnath yatra to the holy cave shrine. Officials said saree was not a suitable dress for the Yatra, adding that salwar kameez, pant-shirt or a track suit will be better. Women, who are more than 6 weeks pregnant, will not be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage.

Only registered pilgrims with valid Yatra permits issued by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) will be covered under Rs 1 lakh insurance during Yatra. “A Yatri duly registered by the SASB for the Yatra 2012, having a valid Yatra Permit issued by the SASB will be entitled to an insurance cover of Rs 1-lakh in case of death due to accident while undertaking the Yatra,” officials said.

The Yatris were already advised to start morning or evening walks for 4-5 km at least one month before the pilgrimage to Amarnath holy cave shrine, which is at a height of 13,500 feet in the South Kashmir Himalaya. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), the pilgrims were advised to start deep breathing exercises and Yoga, particularly Pranayam to improve the oxygen efficiency of the body. They said the Yatris could avoid high altitude sickness by giving their body adequate time to acclimatise.

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It is, therefore, advised that pilgrims don’t over exert during the first 48 hours of arrival in the Yatra area. “The Yatris have been advised to avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, smoking, sleeping pills and strong painkillers during the trek and particularly ensure against any such consumption after the appearance of any AMS symptom,” they said. AMS is the most common form of mountain sickness and may occur after people ascend to altitudes above 2,500 m. It is characterised by breathing problems, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness and difficulty in sleeping.