People who wish to trek to the Amarnath shrine in Jammu and Kashmir must furnish medical certificates, the authorities have said, adding that those below 13 or above 75 years of age will not be allowed to join the pilgrimage.
The Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), which conducts the annual pilgrimage to the shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, has issued advisories for the pilgrimage which involves a trek at an altitude of 14,000 feet.
High-altitude sickness is a problem that people may have to deal with while on the pilgrimage, which begins on June 29 and ends on August 7. The symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
If the ailment is not treated in time, it may lead to death in a matter of hours, one of the advisories said.
"Do prepare for the pilgrimage by achieving physical fitness it is advisable to start a preparatory morning/ evening walk, about 4-5 km per day, at least a month prior to the pilgrimage," it said.
Each pilgrim will need a pilgrimage permit, for which he or she will have to submit an application form and a compulsory health certificate (CHC).
The formats of the application form and CHC, as well as the list of doctors and medical institutions authorised to issue a CHC, are available on the SASB's website - www.shriamarnathjishrine.com.
For the registration, there are specified bank branches, which have been allotted a per day/per route quota for registering pilgrims, the advisory said.
The branch will ensure that the number of pilgrims registered does not exceed the allotted quota.
Another advisory specified that no one below 13 years or above 75 years and no woman more than six weeks pregnant will be registered for the pilgrimage.
The shrine board advised the pilgrims to start deep breathing exercise and Yoga, particularly 'pranayam' for improving the body's oxygen levels.
"Don't ignore the symptoms of high altitude illness, don't drink alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or smoke," it said.
The pilgrims were told to carry sufficient woollens as the temperature could abruptly fall to below five degree Celsius.
"Do carry an umbrella, wind-cheater, raincoat and waterproof shoes as the weather in the pilgrimage area is unpredictable," it said, and advised pilgrims to keep clothes and eatables in waterproof bags to prevent them from getting wet.
Women pilgrims were told not to wear sarees but 'salwar kameezes', trousers and shirts or track suits.
Pilgrims will have a day of the week (Monday to Sunday) printed on their permit, and on this day they will be allowed to cross the access control gates at Baltal and Chandanwari in Pahalgam.
The registration official will issue a permit bearing the word BALTAL in capital letters for the Baltal route and PAHALGAM for the Pahalgam route, the advisory said.
The Amarnath shrine is situated at an altitude of 12,756 feet and is at a distance of 141 kilometres from Srinagar.