16,700 perform darshan on day 4 at holy cave

Shri Amarnath bound yatries in long queues waiting to enter Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Friday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Shri Amarnath bound yatries in long queues waiting to enter Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Friday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Rush increasing, Yatris for slashing rates of rooms
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 4: On the fourth day of darshan today 16,789 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country paid obeisance at holy cave of Shri Amarnath situated in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag.
According to an official spokesman, 16,789 pilgrims paid obeisance of naturally formed Ice Lingam in the holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji on the fourth ay of darshan today from twin routes of Baltal and Chandanwari.
He said the 46 day -long yatra, which started on July 1from both tracks is progressing smoothly and in last four days 50,483 pilgrims have paid obeisance at cave shrine.
Meanwhile, the fifth batch of 5,522 pilgrims including 4,456 males, 871 females,31 children and 164 Sadhus amid chanting “Bum Bum Bholey” and “Baba Amarnath Ki Jai” left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here for holy cave early this morning under tight security arrangements in 235 vehicles.
The spokesman said among them 2501 yatris left for the Pahalgam -Chandanwari track in South Kashmir district of Anantnag while 2,520 left for Baltal track in Central Kashmir district of Ganderbal.
The Government has made tight security and other arrangements for the pilgrims enroute to holy cave situated at a height of 3880 metres from sea level.
Today’ batch which left from here forms the highest number of pilgrims since the first batch of yatra which was flagged off from here on June 30 morning.
The rush of pilgrims is increasing day by day and 4,112 pilgrims entered J&K from Gate way of Lakhanpur during last 24 hours in 128 vehicles. The pilgrims coming via train and air are more than this. Among them large number of pilgrims are leaving towards twin base camps in Valley directly without entering the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas.
DySP Police Headquarters, Kathua , Nikhi Negi said that district police of Kathua and Samba gives full escort to Amarnath pilgrims in their jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, hundreds of pilgrims are thronging the registration centers at Viashnavi Dham, Saraswati Dham and Mahajan Sabha Jammu. Hundreds of pilgrims were seen in long queues at Saraswati Dham and Mahajan Sabha waiting for their turn of registration and token.
The pilgrims coming from other State told this correspondent that the medical check up certificates brought by them from the doctors of their respective states are not being entertained here and they are asked to go for fresh medical examination which is a time consuming process.
Ramesh Kulkarni, a Yatri from Muradabad said that he is heading a group of 25 yatris and they are waiting for last two days here for the registration. “Despite having done the medical examination in their State, the officials at registration counter here did not accept the same and asked us to go for fresh medical check up from the doctors of the State assigned the job in this regard,. This is a time consuming process and this way we have to stay here for more days to complete the process”, he added.
He demanded that this process should be avoided and no hindrances be created to the yatris proceeding for darshan of holy cave. He said earlier he has not seen such kind of system here though he has performed the pilgrimage of holy cave five times earlier also. He as well as other yatris in the group have sought immediate intervention of Governor who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) in this matter.
Some yatris said that the room charges at Vaishnavi and Sarswati Dham are beyond their capacity and they can’t bear such exorbitant rate. Ram Kulkarni a pilgrim heading four member group for pilgrims from Barely, UP said the group was charged Rs 1800 per room at Saraswati Dham and this they can’t afford. He said there is no certainty that they can leave for darshan within one or two days. “Since yesterday we could not seek the registration,. The Government should give concession to pilgrims for staying at Vaishnavi Dham and Saraswati Dham by slashing the rate to some extent”, he added.
The yatris demanded opening of community centers and other ashrams for their stay in Jammu where the rates can be reasonable. They said that some pilgrims belong to lower middle and poor families can’t afford such hefty charges.
Hundreds of pilgrims coming through railway were seen entering the Vaishnavi and Saraswati Dham today while many were seen sitting on footpaths of the road near Railway Station.
Reports said that thousands of yatris are camping in Jammu and over 2000 pilgrims have managed their entry in Bhagati Nagar Yatri Niwas by this evening where from they will leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile ,the pilgrims who left for twin base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal -Sonamarg early this morning have reached their respective destinations by this evening, an official spokesman said. He said from their respective base camps they will proceed to holy cave early tomorrow morning.
The weather around holy cave from Pahalgam and Baltal remained cloudy today and it also drizzled in some areas of holy cave.
The Kashmiri Pandits putting up in Valley have demanded opening of registration centers at Baltal and Pahalgam for the convenience of local yatris. Ramesh Bhat a local resident from Pulwama district said that it is problematic for the people of remote villages to visit Srinagar for registration due to prevailing situation in the Valley.


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