1700 pay obeisance at holy cave; one pilgrim dies, toll 32

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 31: Over 1700 pilgrims paid obeisance at holy cave of Swami Amarnath Ji in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag on 34th day of darshan today.
According to an Officer on Yatra duty 1749 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country paid obeisance to naturally formed Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva in holy cave from twin tracks of Baltal and Chandanwari today.
He said till date 2,64,063 pilgrims have performed darshan in cave shrine since the two month long yatra to 3880 metre high cave shrine started on June 28.
He said the pilgrims who performed the darshan at cave shrine today also started their return journey to base camps of Nunwan -Pahalgam and Baltal. He said majority of pilgrims performing darshan during last over one month in the holy cave have returned their home states while others are on the way.
He said the weather was pleasant during the day in the yatra area and yatra proceeded smoothly.
However one pilgrim died of cardiac arrest at Panjtarni transit camp today. She was identified as Gunasekaran, 63, of Chennai Tamil Nadu. With this the death toll in the ongoing yatra has touched 32.
He said 540 pilgrims left from Baltal Base Camp to holy cave by foot early this morning while 293 left via chopper. He said about 1800 pilgrims are staying for night at Baltal and they included those pilgrims also who returned the Base camp after performing darshan at holy cave during the day.
He said 655 pilgrims left from Nunwan -Chandanwari base camp for darshan of holy cave today. Besides, the pilgrims having night halt at the transit camps of Sheshnag and Panjtarni also left for their onwards sojourn early this morning under tight security.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 591 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here for twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan-Pahalgam under tight security measures early this morning, Arun Manhas Yatra Nodal Officer Jammu said.
He said 668 pilgrims were also registered at three registration counters in Jammu today. They included 53 Sadhus also. Out of them 414 opted for traditional Pahalgam -Nunwan track while 254 opted for shortest Baltal track, he added.
He said these pilgrims will leave for the respective base camps early tomorrow morning from here.
The two -month long yatra will culminate on Sawan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festivals falling on August 26 when the holy mace reaches the cave shrine from its abode Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar.