Srinagar, Aug 6: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha Friday laid the foundation stone of Office cum Yatri Niwas of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board at Pantha Chowk, Srinagar, which is expected to provide best-in-class facilities to the devotees of Shri Amarnathji.
As per an official handout, the new facility would be built over 25 kanal land at Pantha Chowk Srinagar and is expected to be completed in an period of 18 months. The Yatri Niwas once completed would accommodate more than 3000 pilgrims.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lieutenant Governor, who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, observed that the prestigious project is aimed at ensuring comfortable stay of Amarnathji Yatris at Srinagar for the holy annual pilgrimage.
It will also act as an Information Centre for the guidance of pilgrims, besides many similar works would be completed for smooth conduct of the yatra, he added.
The LG said the government of J&K is initiating various services, along with the infrastructural development to provide a memorable experience to millions of devotees of Amarnathji.
He further said the government planning to construct Yatri Niwas in various parts of the UT, besides a permanent office and a bigger Yatri Niwas will soon come up at Jammu to facilitate a large number of visiting devotees.
Another Yatri Niwas with the capacity to accommodate 3200 yatris is coming up at Chanderkote, District Ramban, added the Lt Governor.
The LG said with "modern facilities and conducive environment being created, the day is not far when the Yatris visiting Shri Amarnathji shrine would cross the 10 lakh mark which will also make a greater impact on the economy of J&K".
Study is also being conducted for exploring feasibility of ropeway at Amarnathji Shrine, he further added.
Nitishwar Kumar, Chief Executive officer of the Board termed the project as a "historic development".
"This was a long pending demand from various organizations and stakeholders for having a dedicated Yatri Niwas for Shri Amarnathji Yatris," he added.
The CEO further highlighted the recent developments made by SASB for facilitating Amarnathji Yatris.
The Shrine Board has also brought Darshan, Hawan, and Prasad facility under the virtual mode where the devotees of Lord Shiva from across the world can perform online virtual Puja and Hawan at the Holy Cave, and priests at the holy cave will offer it in the devotees’ name. Prasad will be subsequently delivered at the doorsteps of the devotees. For the first time, we have a 24x7 dedicated portal wherein the devotees can watch the live darshan of Holy Ice Lingam uninterruptedly through the Jio-TV live streams. These steps have been initiated in the wake of the cancellation of this year’s Yatra, said the CEO SASB.
The Shrine board has already arranged for a live telecast of morning and evening Aarti from the holy Cave of Lord Shiva both on TV and Digital platforms, he added.
Mahant Deependra Giri also spoke on the occasion and said that the upcoming Yatri Niwas is a much-needed facility to accommodate Amarnathji yatris.
Earlier, the Lieutenant Governor launched "Shri Amarnath Ishwaram", a signature video song on Amarnathji and dedicated the same to the devotees of the diety on the auspicious occasion of Shravan Shivratri.
Released under the banner of T-Series, the video song has been composed by Aman Pant for the devotees to experience the Shiva mantra in the voice of renowned singer Sachet Tandon.
During his address, the Lt Governor observed that Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board’s devotional song "reflects the divine journey of Lord Shiva with Mata Parvati to the Holy cave and narrates the route of the divine journey with the religious significance of places en route. This devotional track will also make the devotees feel spiritually connected with the divine Lord".
On the occasion, the Lt Governor prayed for the well-being of the people of the UT.
Nitishwar Kumar, Chief Executive officer of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, and Anup Kumar Soni, Additional CEO SASB joined from the Holy Cave through virtual mode.
Popular Singer, Sachet Tandon and Music Composer, Aman Pant also joined through video conferencing and shared their experience of working on this devotional video song.
Baseer Ahmad Khan, Advisor to the Lt Governor; Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department; Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary to the Government, H&UDD; Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, PDD; Sanjeev Verma, Commissioner/Secretary to the Government, Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment; Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary to Government, Industries & Commerce Department; Pandurang K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir; Sarmad Hafeez, Administrative Secretary, Tourism Department; Board Members of SASB, besides other senior officers of Civil, Police, Shrine Board and the various religious organizations and NGOs attended the foundation laying ceremony of Yatri Niwas at Pantha Chowk.