Here’s why Amarnath shrine board wants women yatris to avoid wearing sarees this season

The Amarnath shrine board is concerned by the complaints of pollution, and therefore, they are invoking Lord Shiva's teachings

Ahead of the commencement of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, the authorities have issued an advisory asking prospective women pilgrims not to wear traditional sarees but salwar kameez, pants or tracksuits for the yatra to the cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas.

Interestingly, in a bid to avoid pollution and to make the pilgrims realise the importance of the eco-fragile terrain that leads to the shrine, the concerned authorities have invoked Lord Shiva’s teachings.

While the 40-day annual yatra is scheduled to commence on June 29, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), in a bid to make travel more comfortable, has released a set of dos and don’ts for the pilgrims on its website

“For Ladies: Saree is not a suitable dress for the Yatra. Salwar Kameez, pant-shirt or a track suit will be better. Ladies who are more than 6 week pregnant shall not be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage,” reads one of the points in the advisory.

A senior official said that the women have been asked to avoid donning traditional saree, not because of any security reason but that it becomes inconvenient to tread the treacherous track wearing such loose clothes, presumed to be a misfit for such terrains. “What we have learnt from feedback is the wearing saree during yatra is extremely uncomfortable,” he noted.

In the wake of complaints of pollution being caused due to the huge influx of pilgrims in the ecologically fragile terrain, which also feeds major waterbodies in the region, the shrine board is attracting the attention of pilgrims by invoking Lord Shiva and his teachings.

“Earth, water, air, fire and sky are integral parts of Lord Shiva. The Base camp and the entire Yatra routes are the abode of Shri Amarnathji. Throughout your pilgrimage, you must respect the environment and do nothing to pollute it,” the advisory states.

The pilgrimage is scheduled to conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 7. Officials observed that this year’s yatra will be shorter by eight days in comparison to the 48-day event in 2016.