Online booking of tickets for the helicopter service for the annual Amarnath Yatra will begin from April 25, a top official said today. Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) said that advance online booking of helicopter tickets for this year’s yatra will commence at 10 AM on Tuesday. SASB has made arrangements with UTAir India Pvt Ltd and Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd for the Neelgrath-Panjtarni- Neelgrath sector and with Himalayan Heli Services Pvt Ltd for the Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam sector for providing helicopter services for Amarnathji Yatra commencing on 29th June, he said.
The 40-day-long annual ‘yatra’ to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in the South Kashmir Himalayas will commence on June 29. The pilgrimage will conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 7. This year’s yatra will be shorter by eight days against the 48-day event last year. The CEO said that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for online booking of heli-tickets have been formulated within the parameters of Air Traffic Services Regulations.
“Advance online booking for helicopter tickets will commence on April 25, 2017 through the websites of the respective heli-operators (www.utair-India.com, www.onlineglobalhelicorp.com, and www.himalayanheli.com),” he added. The guidelines for booking the heli-tickets are available on the board’s website – www.shriamarnathjishrine.com. The links for the heli-operators’ websites for booking of heli-tickets are also available on the Board’s website.
Simultaneously, advance booking through the appointed travel agents will also commence on April 25, the CEO said. The heli-tickets are provided to passengers through online booking, agents appointed by the heli-operators, tour and travel associations and current booking counters at helipads, he said.
Heli-operators have appointed eight agents, four each from Kashmir and Jammu Division for Neelgrath-Panjatarni sector, and six agents for Pahalgam–Panjtarni sector, three each from Kashmir and Jammu Division. The per passenger one-way heli fare for the yatra has been fixed at Rs 1,715 for Neelgrath-Panjtarni and Rs 2,950 for the Pahalgam-Panjtarni sectors.
The CEO further stated that yatris (pilgrims) who wish to avail heli services are not required to seek advance registration through the designated bank branches as their applications for purchasing heli tickets contain the required information and the same shall be treated as yatra permits for undertaking the pilgrimage. However, no yatri shall be allowed to board the helicopter unless he or she produces the required Compulsory Health Certificate issued by an authorised doctor or institution, he said.
Thus, every helicopter passenger will have to furnish a Compulsory Health Certificate at the time of boarding at Neelgrath or Pahalgam without which the boarding pass will not be issued to the pilgrim. The details of such institutions and authorised doctors is also available on the Board’s website.
“Children below 13 years of age, elderly persons above the age of 75 and women who are over 6 weeks pregnant will not be permitted to undertake the pilgrimage,” the CEO said. He urged yatris to follow the Do’s and Don’ts available on the website issued by SASB, from time to time, for safely undertaking the arduous yatra.