Venture Beacon of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been engaged on restoring and bettering the street to the Amarnath cave shrine, situated within the snow-clad Himalayas of Kashmir’s Lidder Valley.
On November 2, the BRO posted on X (previously Twitter) that after upgradation of the Baltal street to the shrine, motor automobiles drove all the way in which to the holy cave for the primary time ever. This got here after Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Street Transport and Highways, introduced a brand new street to the shrine earlier this 12 months.
Entry to Amarnath until now
The Amarnath shrine, with its revered ice lingam, is situated at an altitude of 13,000 toes. Pilgrims can attain the shrine via both Pahalgam or Sonamarg, within the Lidder Valley.
The cave is 48 km north of Pahalgam. Whereas the preliminary 16 km — from Pahalgam to Chandanwari — is motorable, pilgrims both trek or trip a pony the remainder of the way in which, via extraordinarily demanding terrain. It takes 3 to five days to achieve the shrine by this route.
From Sonamarg, through Baltal, the route is way shorter. The 14 km distance between Baltal and the shrine is normally coated in eight hours on foot, or in lower than six hours on a pony. Most pilgrims keep the night time at Amarnath, though it’s potential to finish a spherical journey in a single day.
Pilgrims also can attain the shrine on choppers, which ply from Baltal to Panchtarni — 6 km away from the shrine. Companies that carried pilgrims all the way in which to the shrine have been stopped resulting from ecological issues, with choppers blamed for the lingam’s fast melting.
Gadkari’s bold proposal
In April this 12 months, Union Minister Gadkari introduced a plan which might considerably enhance entry to the Amarnath shrine.
This plan, with a funds of Rs 5,300 crore, includes creating a 34 km two-lane motorable street from Chandanwari (on the Pahalgam aspect), to Baltal (on the Sonamarg aspect). This features a 10.8 km tunnel from Sheshnag to Panchtarni, essentially the most arduous a part of the trek on the Pahalgam route, that passes via Mahagunus High at an altitude of 14,500 toes. A 5 km concrete pedestrian monitor will take the pilgrims from Panchtarni to the shrine. Alternatively, pilgrims will have the ability to take a 9 km ropeway from Baltal to the shrine, which shall be constructed at a price of Rs 750 crore.
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Gadkari mentioned that tenders for the undertaking could be issued by the tip of the 12 months.
BRO enters the image
Pedestrian tracks, each from Baltal and Chandanwari to the shrine have been maintained by the J&Okay authorities’s Roads & Buildings (R&B) division. In September 2022, each have been handed over to the BRO for upkeep and enchancment.
BRO officers mentioned that the present tracks on the Baltal route have been widened to as much as 15 toes. That is sufficient for vans and pick-up automobiles to drive all the way in which to the cave shrine. Officers nevertheless mentioned that vacationer automobiles is not going to be allowed to make the journey as of now, with the widening meant to ease congestion of trekking pilgrims.