Over 74,000 perform Amaranth Yatra in four days

SRINAGAR — Over 74,000 pilgrims had ‘darshan’ inside the holy cave shrine of Amarnath during the last four days while another batch of 5,725 Yatris left for Kashmir on Wednesday.

“Another batch of 5,725 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas today morning in two escorted convoys for the Valley. Of these, 2514 Yatris left in an escorted convoy of 118 vehicles for the north Kashmir Baltal base camp while 3,211 Yatris went in 120 vehicles escorted by the security forces for the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp”, officials said.

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

Yatris take either the 48 km long traditional Pahalgam cave shrine 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, 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.

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)