No ban on chanting of mantras, singing of bhajans at Amarnath cave, clarifies NGT

A day after declaring the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir a 'silence zone', the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday clarified that it has not imposed any restriction on chanting of mantras and singing of bhajans at the shrine.

In view of protests over its decision, the green panel said it has neither intended nor declared the entire area as a silence zone. It said the only restriction imposed was that any devotee or individual should maintain silence while standing in front of the 'Amarnath Ji Maha Shivling', a natural formation in the cave.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said the restriction was not applicable to any other part, including the main stairs leading to the holy cave.

The tribunal also clarified that on the last stairs, approximately 30 steps leading to the holy cave, it should be ensured that no pilgrim carries any material as it is already the practice of the board. There was no restriction of any kind below the stairs, it said.

"The one-way queue of visitors/pilgrims will be maintained at the shrine. These directions would be complied with by all concerned.

"This direction is required to maintain the sanctity and pristine condition of the holy cave and to ensure that there are no adverse impacts of noise, heat, vibrations etc upon the Amarnath Ji Maha Shivling, so that those arriving in the later part of the limited period available to the pilgrimage are also able to have the darshan of the shivling," the bench said.

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