Going to the Shri Amarnath Yatra this year from July 1? You cannot have cold drinks, crunchy snacks, deep fried and fast food items, heavy sweets like jalebi and halwa, pooris and chhola bhaturas on the pilgrimage.
In its health advisory for the annual yatra issued by the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board, the authority has banned a series of food items that could prove detrimental to the health of pilgrims on the arduous trek.
A detailed food menu has been prepared that shall apply to Langar organisations, food stalls, shops and other establishments which come up in the yatra area to serve and sell food to the pilgrims and service providers. The idea is to keep pilgrims away from ‘unhealthy’ food items on the challenging 14-km long trek that passes through high altitudes and steep mountainous terrain.
Nearly 42 pilgrims had died in 2022 during the Amaranth Yatra due to natural causes. The government insists on a mandatory requirement of compulsory health certificate and has taken steps like installation of oxygen booths and setting up of hospitals at various locations along yatra route to keep pilgrims safe.
Since last year, RFID tags are also used to monitor the well-being of the yatris. The health advisory for this year is another step to ensure pilgrims ‘eat right’ during the pilgrimage to be fit.
The food menu bans non-vegetarian food, alcohol, tobacco, gutka, pan masala, smoking and other intoxicants for religious reasons. It also bans aerated cold drinks, but is allowing drinks like herbal tea, coffee, low fat milk, fruit juices, lemon squash and vegetable soup en route.
Fried rice is prohibited but one can have normal rice as well as light food like roasted chana, poha, uthappam, idli as well as dal-roti and chocolate. Kheer, oats, dry fruits, honey and boiled sweets are allowed. But heavy foods like chhola-bhatura, pooris, pizza and burgers, dosas and chowmein along with other fried foods are not allowed en route the Amarnath holy cave.
All halwai items like halwa, jalebi, gulab jamun, ladoos, barfi and rasgullas have also been banned on the food menu along with crunchy snacks that are high in fat and salts and popular items like Kurkure and namkeen mixtures. Pakoras and samosas are a strict no-no too.
Food is made available at various langars at various locations en route the yatra area along with shops and food stalls that come up on the trek.