13,849 pilgrims perform darshan, yatra reaches 2.32 lakh

Shri Amarnath yatris heading towards cave shrine. — Excelsior/Sajjad Dar
Shri Amarnath yatris heading towards cave shrine. — Excelsior/Sajjad Dar

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 18: With 13, 849 pilgrims performing darshan at holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji in South Kashmir Himalayas today, total number of yatra has gone up to 2.32 lakh during last 18 days.
Official reports said on 18th day of the pilgrimage, 13,849 yatris paid obeisance to naturally formed holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva at Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine in Anantnag district of South Kashmir.
With this, total number of pilgrims who have offered prayers at the cave shrine during last 18 days since start of the yatra on July 1, has gone up to 2,32,860.
The yatra was progressing smoothly from both tracks of Baltal and Pahalgam and there were no interruptions. Weather was fine at twin base camps of Nunwan in Pahalgam and Baltal in Ganderbal district of Kashmir besides the shrine tracks. Pilgrimage by air also continued.
Meanwhile, fresh batches of pilgrims on Thursday left Nunwan Pahalgam and Baltal base camps for holy Amarnath cave shrine.
Though the sky was cloudy in the morning, the yatra was allowed on both the tracks and was going on. There were no major rains in either of the twin tracks.
Reports said fresh batch of pilgrims, including women, children and Sadhus, left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for Chandanwari, the last motorable halting station on traditional yatra track. The pilgrims who had night halt at different stations, including Chandanwari, left for next stations early this morning.
Fresh batch of pilgrims also left Baltal base camp for the holy cave early this morning. The pilgrims, including women, children and Sadhus, reached the holy cave after covering the distance on foot. Some of them returned to Baltal.
Helicopter service is also operating normally from both sides. Reports said majority pilgrims, even those who are undertaking the pilgrimage via Pahalgam are returning through Baltal route.
A fresh batch of 4167 pilgrims on Thursday left for the Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine amid “Bam Bam Bhole” chants and rains from Yatri Niwas, Bhagwati Nagar base camp here.
The fleet of 169 vehicles ferrying pilgrims was escorted by CRPF personnel in jeeps and on motorbikes.
However, for Pahalgam route, 2087 male, 397 females, 14 children, 140 Sadhus and one transgender left the base camp in 98 vehicles and for Baltal, 1124 male, 398 females and 11 children left in 71 vehicles including buses and LMVs.
Total 169 vehicles left the base camp for both the routes including 73 HMVs, 95 LMVs and a motorcycle.
The first batch was flagged off from here on June 29.
Multi-tier security arrangements have been made for smooth and successful conduct of 46-day long Yatra concluding on August 15 on the occasion of Sharavan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan.
A pilgrim from Kolkata was critically injured when he slipped from a hill and fell into a Nallah at Railpatheri during pilgrimage to holy Amarnath cave shrine.
Asiom Mandal (57), resident of Kolkata, slipped and fell into nallah at Railpatheri on shortest Baltal track and was injured
Rescue operation was immediately launched, reports said, adding that Mandal was shifted to Baltal base hospital. Later, he was referred to S K Institute of Medical Sciences.