More than 40 food items have been banned at the upcoming Amarnath Yatra and the pilgrims have been advised to achieve physical fitness by walking at least 5 kilometres a day, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board said in its health advisory issued on Thursday.
The banned food items include drinks, fried and fast food items.
The health advisory also called upon devotees undertaking the pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrine located in south Kashmir for achieving physical fitness and asked them to start a preparatory morning and evening walk, about 4 to 5 km per day.
The yatra to the 3,880-metre-high holy cave in south Kashmir Himalayas is scheduled to commence on July 1 from the twin tracks – the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag district and the 14 km shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
“Before you start the Amarnath Yatra, a 14-kilometer trek, check the list of banned food items and the items that you are allowed to carry on the pilgrimage,” officials said.
As per the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) advisory, the foods that have been banned include heavy Pullav, fried rice, puri, bathura, pizza, burger, stuffed parantha, dosa and fried roti, bread with butter, cream-based foods, pickle, chutney, fried papad, chowmein among other fried and fast food items.
Keeping in view the health of the devotees, the board has recommended healthy options like cereals, pulses, green vegetables and salad along with a few rice dishes.
Apart from 40 banned items everything is allowed, the board added.
The district magistrates of Ganderbal and Anantnag districts shall issue appropriate orders under the Ranbir Penal Code specifying penalties to be imposed for violation of the food menu prescribed above, it added.
For the prevention of high altitude sickness, the board has advised 14 steps for every devotee aspiring to take the Yatra to the cave shrine.
“Do prepare for the Yatra by achieving physical fitness – it is advisable to start a preparatory morning and evening walk, about 4-5 km per day,” it said, further advising devotees to start deep breathing exercises and Yoga, particularly pranayam for improving oxygen efficiency of the body.
Do check with your physician prior to travelling to higher elevations, if you have any existing pre-existing medical conditions, it said.
Board has also issued five points of advice to prevent hypothermia, which include a healthy diet with plenty of fluids, including warm drinks, and regular meals for energy so that the body can generate heat.
It has further advised devotees to avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking as they all increase the rate at which the body loses heat.
The advisory further elaborated that in view of cold weather conditions in high altitude sites in the Yatra area where temperature abruptly falls 2 to 5 degrees Celsius, yatris, especially elderly people may suffer from hypothermia.