Srinagar, July 13
Fresh batches of yatris this morning left base camps from the holy cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, where so far 1.68 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance since the commencement of the 40-day-long annual pilgrimage from June 29.
As many as 3403 pilgrims, including women and sadhus left Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu base camp for Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps early this morning, a yatra official told.
The yatra was progressing smoothly from both shortest Baltal and traditional Pahalgam tracks despite cloudy sky, he said. He said on the 14th day of Yatra yesterday, 10,319 pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine from both tracks. With this a total of 1,67,937 pilgrims had darshan of the self made Ice-Shivlingam so far.
Majority of the pilgrims had since returned to their homes. However, 21 of the pilgrims had lost their lives during the pilgrims, including seven who were killed in a militant attack on their bus on Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Batangoo Anantnag on July 10 night.
The attack however, evoked massive condemnation in Kashmir and across the country and abroad.
Meanwhile, pilgrims, who had night halt at Panjterni on traditional route are arriving to pay obeisance at cave shrine since this morning.
Despite cloudy weather fresh batch of 4200 yatris left Baltal for the cave shrine early this morning to reach the cave shrine after covering the 14-km hilly track on foot. The pilgrims are expected to reach the cave shrine, situated at 14000 feet in the afternoon.
Majority of the yatris will try to return to base camp after paying obeisance while other will have night stay in the camp near the cave shrine. Meanwhile, pilgrims who had reached the cave from traditional track are also preferring to return via Baltal track.
Similarly fresh batch of pilgrims who had night halt at Nunwan Pahalgam base camp also left for Chandanwari, the last motorable halting station on the traditional track. Meanwhile, pilgrims who had night halt at different halting stations on the traditional route have also started their foot journey towards the cave shrine this morning.
Meanwhile, in view of the forecast predicting light to moderate rain and thundershowers in the Yatra area, Governor N N Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) reviewed track condition.
Mr Vohra discussed with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SASB Umang Narula the difficulties on the tracks which may arise because of the inclement weather in the movement of the Yatris from Domel and Chandanwari on the Baltal and Pahalgam routes and at the enroute Yatra Camps of Sheshnag and Panjtarni.
He directed CEO to ensure that he issues immediate necessary instructions to all the Camp Directors to closely monitor weather conditions. CEO was also asked to take timely decisions, in consultation with the India Meteorological Department, and stop movement of Yatris when track conditions are unsafe.