14,000 perform darshan on Day 17

Amarnath yatris heading towards holy cave. -Excelsior/Sajjad Dar
Amarnath yatris heading towards holy cave. -Excelsior/Sajjad Dar

Rush of pilgrims continues

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, July 17: As the pious month of Shravan started today having a lot of significance for Hindus, near 14,000 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country paid obeisance of naturally formed Ice Lingam at holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji situated at an altitude of 3880 metres in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag today.
On the 17th day of yatra, 13,928 pilgrims drawn from various parts of the country performed darshan in holy cave today, officials said. Till date 2,19,011 pilgrims have paid obeisance at cave shrine since the 46 day-long yatra started on July 1, officials added.
With over two lakh pilgrims performing darshan at holy cave, in first 16 days of yatra, this is the highest number of pilgrims who paid obeisance at holy cave during first 16 days in last four years, official said.
They said that the weather in the holy cave area remained cloudy during the day but the yatra proceeded smoothly from both the tracks. The yatris who performed darshan at cave shrine today started their return journey towards the twin base camps of Baltal -Sonamarg and Nunwan -Pahalgam.
Officials said the unabated rush of pilgrims continued as thousands of yatris from different parts of country are daily reporting at twin base camps for their onwards sojourn to holy cave. There is festivity on both the base camps as well as on the yatra tracks and at cave shrine. The yatris are also in high spirits.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 4,584 pilgrims including 1,152 women and 95 Sadhus chanting ‘Bum Bum Bholey’ left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for the twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan early this morning in a cavalcade of 192 vehicles under tight security arrangements.
These yatris, as per reports, have reached their respective base camps by this evening where from they will leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning. Reports said 1750 pilgrims crossed the Lakhanpur gateway for Jammu in 111 vehicles during last 24 hours while hundreds of pilgrims reached here during the same period via train services.
The 46 day -yatra will culminate on Hindu festivals of Sawan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan falling on August 15 when the holy mace led by its sole custodian Mahant Depeendra Giri Ji reaches cave shrine from its abode Dashnami Akhara,Srinagar.
The holy mace will leave for its last sojourn from Dashnami Akhara on Nag Panchmi falling on August 5. And after halts at different locations including Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni, it will reach cave shrine on August 15. The holy mace after day long Puja at cave shrine will start its return journey on the same day.
It may be recalled that “Bhoomi Pujan, Chhari Pujan Navgrah Pujan and Dhawajarohan” were performed in a traditional way at Pahalgam by Sadhus and other devotees led by Mahant Deependra Giri on Ashad Purnima yesterday marking the commencement of annual Amarnath yatra.
As many as 2,85,000 pilgrims had paid obeisance at holy cave last year.