How govt regulates religious pilgrimages?
Headline : How govt regulates religious pilgrimages?
About Amarnath cave:
- Amarnath cave is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
- The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), about 141 km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The peak pilgrimage occurs when the iced stalagmite Shiv lingam reaches the apex of its waxing phase through the summer months.
Regulation of the AmarnathYatra:
- Before 2000, there wasn’t much government intervention in the yatra. A heavy downpour in 1996 resulted in the death of about 250 yatris.
- Subsequently, the Nitish Sengupta Committee was set up to enquire into the deaths. After it was decided that the government should intervene, the J&K Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Act 2000 was passed that provided for the setting up of a board to manage the yatra.
- The Act states that the 10-member board is to be headed by the governor of J&K if he is a Hindu. A non-Hindu governor is supposed to nominate an eminent Hindu from the state to head the board, which also has government officials on deputation as its members.
About Haj yatra:
- The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime.
- It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm.
Regulation of the Haj pilgrimage:
- The Haj pilgrimage works on a quota basis.
- Saudi authorities usually allocate 1,000 places for every million Muslim persons per country.
- As a result, the overwhelming majority of Haj berths go to Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
- The Haj Committee of India regulates the state-wise quota based on the state’s Muslim population.
- Until last year, Haj was subsidised by the Centre with discounts on Air India flights and other forms of assistance provided. From this year, the subsidy has been discontinued.
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:
- According to Hinduism, Shiva resided at the summit of a mountain named Kailasa, where he sat in a state of meditation along with his wife Parvati. He is believed to be the founder of Yoga and so is named as “Adi-Yogi”.
- Mount Kailash is a 6,638 m (21,778 ft) high peak in the Kailash Range, which forms part of Transhimalaya in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
- The mountain is located near Lake Manasarovar and Lake Rakshastal, close to the source of some of the longest Asian rivers: the Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra, and Karnali also known as Ghaghara (a tributary of the Ganges) in India.
- Mount Kailash is considered to be sacred in four religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön and Jainism.
Regulation of the KailashMansarovarYatra:
- For this yatra, two routes are open, one Lipulekh Pass route (at the border of Uttarakhand and Tibet) and second is the Nathu La route (at the border between Sikkim and Tibet).
- The pilgrims’ list is finalised in a computerised draw. Government appoints liaison officers for each batch to coordinate with Indian and Chinese authorities. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police provides security, medical assistance to the yatris.
Subsidise the Kailash Mansoravar and Amarnath yatras:
- According to a parliamentary question, government of India does not extend any direct monetary subsidy to individual pilgrims for the Amarnath and Kailash Manasarovar yatras.
- But the foreign ministry assists, on a self-financing basis, pilgrims for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra by providing facilities like transportation, accommodation, food, medical tests, guides, etc.
- News reports also state that the Kailash Mansoravar yatra is subsidised by some state governments.