Over 11,000 pay obeisance at holy cave

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 14: On the 17th day of the ongoing holy Amarnath yatra 11,038 pilgrims paid obeisance at the holy cave situated in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag. Till date 1,76,044 yatris had performed darshan of Ice Lingam in cave shrine situated at an altitude of 3880 meters since the yatra started on June 28, a police officer on Yatra duty said.
He said two more pilgrims died after suffering cardiac arrest on the Baltal route of the Amarnath cave shrine, taking the toll in this year’s pilgrimage to 24, officer said.
Pandik Panduraj (60), a resident of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, suffered cardiac arrest near the cave shrine this morning. He was rushed to the medical facility nearby where he was declared brought dead, he said.
Another pilgrim, K L Salvi (59), from Udaipur in Rajasthan died due to cardiac arrest at Brarimarg along the Baltal route last night, the official added.
With this, the death toll in this year’s pilgrimage — has gone up to 24, he said.
Meanwhile a pilgrim from Chennai, identified as Ramaswami (64), suffered a fracture in the right leg after falling down while trying to board a crowded helicopter at Nilgrath along the Pahalgam route, the police officer said.
He has been admitted to a hospital here for treatment, the official added.
He said 5855 pilgrims left for holy cave from twin tracks of Baltal, Nunwan -Pahalgam and chopper today.
Out of them 2867 pilgrims left from shortest Baltal track while 1790 left via traditional Nunwan Pahalgam track early this morning. Besides, 1198 pilgrims left through chopper to holy cave during the day, he said.
The officer said the pilgrims camping at transit camps of Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panjtarni also left for their onwards sojourn early this morning.
He said the yatra is proceeding smoothly on both the tracks and weather also remained pleasant during the day in the holy cave area.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of near 3000 pilgrims left from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan early this morning under tight security measures, Yatra Nodal Officer, Arun Manhas said.
He said 2,986 pilgrims left for holy cave this morning under tight security measures for the twin base camps. Besides, 1661 fresh registrations of pilgrims including Sadhus was made at three registration counters in Jammu today.
He said over 3000 Amarnath bound pilgrims drawn from various parts of country are camping at Jammu for the night and they will leave for Kashmir Valley early tomorrow morning.
It may be recalled that the two month long yatra started on June 28 will culminate on August 26 the day coinciding with Sawan Purnima and Raksha Bandan festivals after the holy mace of Lord Shiva from Dashnami Akhara Srinagar will reach the cave shrine.