No Chanting Mantras, Ringing Of Bells At Amarnath Shrine: Green Court

The high frequency of pilgrims visiting the shrine increases the noise pollution in the surrounding areas, thereby increasing the risk of avalanches.

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No Chanting Mantras, Ringing Of Bells At Amarnath Shrine: Green Court

The high frequency of pilgrims visiting Amarnath shrine increases chances of avalanches (File)

New Delhi:  The Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir was declared a "Silence Zone" by the National Green Tribunal in a bid to prevent avalanches in the pilgrimage area. The green court disallowed the ringing of bells and chanting of 'mantras' and 'jayakaras' in the shrine area and said pilgrims would not be allowed to carry personal belongings including their mobile phones beyond the last checkpoint.

The high frequency of pilgrims visiting the Amarnath temple increases the noise pollution in the surrounding areas, thereby increasing the risk of avalanches.

"Nobody would be permitted to carry anything from the stairs leading to the holy cave and everybody should be properly frisked at the entry point. From the point of stairs and the area inside the cave should be declared silence zone," the green court said.

It called for removing iron grills in front of the ice stalagmite resembling the 'Shiva Linga' so visitors could have a better view of the structure. The bench also further asked for a reduction of noise around the structure.

The green court bench asked the shrine board once again, to provide proper infrastructure to pilgrims visiting the Amarnath temple in order to not deprive them of 'darshan'.

Earlier in November, the green court had taken the Amarnath Shrine Board to task for not complying with the directions given by the Supreme Court in 2012.

"You have allowed shops on path near the shrine. There are no proper facilities for toilets. Do you even know how humiliating this is for women. Why have you not provided proper infrastructural facilities for pilgrims. You are giving priority to commercial activities over pilgrims. This is unfair. The sanctity of the shrine has to be maintained," the bench had said last month.

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The green court had also formed a committee comprised of experts headed by an Environment Ministry official to submit an action plan on aspects like developing a proper path to the shrine as well as maintaining cleanliness.

Another hearing on the matter will be held next year on January 18.

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