Another batch of Yatris leave Jammu to perform ongoing Amarnath Yatra

JAMMU — The third batch of 6,619 pilgrims left for the Valley from here on Sunday to perform the ongoing Amarnath Yatra as more than 13,000 Yatris had ‘Darshan’ inside the cave shrine a day before, officials said.

Officials added that the third batch of 6,619 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu for the Valley in two escorted convoys of 319 vehicles on Sunday morning.

“Of these, 2,781 Yatris left for Baltal base camp at 3:50 a.m. in 151 vehicles while 3,838 left in 168 vehicles for Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp at 4:42 a.m.”

“Both convoys are escorted by the security forces,” officials said.

The 52-day-long Amarnath Yatra began on June 29 and will end on August 19 coinciding with the festivals of Raksha Bandhan and Shravan Purnima.

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

Those using the Pahalgam route take four days to reach the cave shrine while those taking the Baltal route reach back to the base camp the same day after having ‘Darshan’ inside the cave shrine.

The cave shrine situated 3,888 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, at the two base camps and at the cave shrine to ensure a smooth and incident-free Yatra.

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

More than 7,000 ‘Sevadars’ (volunteers) are serving the Yatris during this year’s Yatra.

To manage the rush of the Yatris, the Railways have decided to add additional trains from July 3.

Helicopter services are also available for the Yatris on both routes. — (IANS)