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2 weeks ago

Amarnath Yatra: 1.59 lakh pilgrims visit holy cave shrine in 9 days

Jammu: Over 1.59 lakh pilgrims have successfully performed the Amarnath Yatra and paid obeisance at Lords Shiva’s Ice Lingam so far, since June 29.


Officials told KNO, that due to heavy rain and slippery track conditions, the Yatra was temporarily suspended yesterday, still 7,552 pilgrims had ‘darshan’ inside the holy cave shrine.


They said 5,019 male pilgrims, 1,406 female pilgrims, 118 Sadhus and three Sadhvis were among those who paid obeisance at the cave shrine. Also, 869 security personnel, three transgender persons and 134 children performed the pilgrimage, they said.


With this, the number of pilgrims who have visited the 3,888-metre-high cave shrine in the South Kashmir Himalayas has now reached 1,59,498, officials added.


Meanwhile, the fresh batch (11th) of 6,145 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu in two escorted convoys for the Valley today,” said the officials.


The batch include 4695 men, 1218 women, 19 children, 177 sadhus & 36 sadhvies (female sadhus). The pilgrims left the base camp in a cavalcade of 238 vehicles early this morning.


Of these, 2697 pilgrims left for Baltal at 3:10 AM and 3448 for Pahalgam base camp at 3:42 AM from where they will proceed for their further journey to the holy cave.


The Meteorological (MeT) department has forecast partially cloudy weather on both the Yatra routes with the possibility of intermittent light rain and thundershowers during the day.


Yatris take either the 48-km long traditional Pahalgam route or the shorter 14-km long Baltal route to perform the Yatra.


Those using the Pahalgam route take four days to reach the cave shrine while those taking the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after having ‘darshan’ inside the cave shrine. The cave shrine situated 3888 metres above sea level houses an ice stalagmite structure that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.


Devotees believe that the ice stalagmite structure symbolises the mythical powers of Lord Shiva. Extensive arrangements for security have been made this year all along the nearly 300 km long Jammu-Srinagar highway, at the twin Yatra routes, the two base camps and the cave shrine to ensure a smooth, incident-free Yatra.


Over 124 ‘langars’ (community kitchens) have been set up along both the routes and also at the transit camps and the cave shrine.


Over 7,000 ‘Sevadars’ (Volunteers) are serving the Yatris during this year’s Yatra. Helicopter services are also available for the Yatris on both routes.


The 52-day pilgrimage will conclude on August 19. More than 4.5 lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine last year.

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