Over 1.25 lakh perform Amaranth Yatra in six days

JAMMU — Over 1.25 lakh Yatris had ‘darshan’ inside the holy cave since the Amarnath Yatra started on June 29 while another batch of 6,919 pilgrims left for Kashmir on Friday.

Officials of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) which manages the affairs of the Yatra said, “Another batch of 6,919 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatra Niwas in two escorted convoys for the Valley today. Of these, 2542 pilgrims left in an escorted convoy of 109 vehicles at 4 a.m. for the North Kashmir Baltal base camp while another escorted convoy of 150 vehicles carrying 4,377 Yatris left at 4.30 a.m. for the South Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp.”

The Meteorological (MeT) department has forecast generally cloudy weather on both the Yatra routes with the possibility of light rain/thunder 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’.

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. — (IANS)