SRINAGAR /JAMMU, July 16: Despite the terrorist attack of July 10 in Anantnag district of South Kashmir which claimed seven lives of pilgrims, the spirits of yatris are very high as the Amarnath yatra crossed 2 lakh in last 18 days of darshan which started on June 29.
The terrorist threat failed to dampen the yatris spirits as thousands of pilgrims are reaching for darshan of holy cave from different parts of the country daily.
Today, on the 18th day of the Yatra, 7,214 pilgrims paid obeisance at the holy cave and, cumulatively, since the beginning of the pilgrimage, 2,02,705 Yatris had the darshan of the naturally formed Ice Lingam in the cave shrine situated at an altitude of 3880 meters in deep Himalayas of South Kashmir district of Anantnag.
Out of them, majority of pilgrims have returned to their home States while some are on the way, an official spokesman said.
He said over 5000 pilgrims left from twin base camps of Nunwan, Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal, Sonamarg in Central Kashmir district of Ganderbal for holy cave today.
He said 2555 pilgrims left via shortest Dumel track from Baltal base camp while 2642 pilgrims left via traditional Chandanwari -Sheshnag track from Nunwan base camp. Besides the yatris stationed at Sheshnag and Panchtarni halting stations also left for their onwards sojourn chanting ‘Bum Bum Bholey and Har Har Mahadev’, the spokesman added.
He said a fresh batch of 3603 Shri Amarnathji pilgrims left from Yatri Niwas Jammu amid Bum Bum Bhole’ chants for the holy cave shrine in South Kashmir early this morning. They left in a cavalcade of 143 vehicles The yatris comprised 2559 male, 950 females, and 94 Sadhus. Pilgrims left for Pahalgam and Baltal to perform the pilgrimage in 75 buses and 68 light motor vehicles. However, due to the land slides on National Highway in Ramban district, the Yatris were trapped in traffic jam for some time also. But later the Highway was cleared and yatra proceeded smoothly.
Spokesman said a 65-year-old pilgrim from Maharashtra died at the Baltal base camp raising the death toll in the ongoing pilgrimage to 20.
Sada Shiv fell seriously ill yesterday. He was admitted to the Baltal base hospital, where he died late last night, a police official said.
The 40-day Amarnath yatra started on June 29 from the twin routes of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district. It is scheduled to culminate on August 7, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
Meanwhile, on the directions of Governor N N Vohra, Chairman Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), CEO of the Board Umang Narula has made all arrangements for the mortal remains of Lalita Ben, a yatri who was injured in terrorists attack on yatra bus on July 10 night and passed away last night, to be sent to home town Surat in Gujarat by air along with an attendant, Amit Kumar. As directed by the Governor a J&K Police official would also accompany the dead body.
Mr Vohra has also announced Rs five lakh as ex-gratia for the bereaved family.