21,400 pay obeisance, over 2 lakh in last 15 days

Yatris waiting in long queue in front of a registration counter at Jammu on Saturday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Yatris waiting in long queue in front of a registration counter at Jammu on Saturday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Pilgrim dies, 2 cops injured

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, July 15: With over 21,000 pilgrims paying obeisance to Lord Shiva at 3880 metre high cave shrine in South Kashmir’s district of Anantnag, the number of pilgrims who performed darshan in last 15 days of 62 day long Amarnath Ji pilgrimage has touched 2,08,515.
According to officials, there is huge rush of pilgrims and 21,401 yatris performed darshan of Lord Shiva’s Ice Lingam from twin tracks of Baltal and Nunwan -Pahalgam in cave shrine situated in the lap of deep Himalayas by this evening.
They included 15,510 male, 5034 female, 617 children,238 Sadhus and two Sadhvis, officials said, adding the chopper services also plied normally during the day to take yatris to and fro.
Officials said one lady died, while two jawans of police got serious injuries due to shooting stones on the track in between Sangam Top to Lower Holy Cave this afternoon. The dead body of lady who was identified as Urmila wife of Garesh Kumar of Gujarat was taken to base hospital for other formalities, the two cops were airlifted to SKIMS, Soura for treatment. They have been identified as Selection Grade Constable Mohammed Saleem of IRP 3rd Battalion and Mohammad Yasin of JKAP 8th battalion, officials said.
Besides, one yatri identified as Tenuguntla Venkata Raghunanda Rao, son of Guravaiah of Andhra Pradesh who had returned here after performing darshan on July 11 fell ill at Jammu and he was admitted in GMC this morning where he breathed his last due to cardiac arrest. With this, the death toll during current pilgrimage has mounted to 26.
Officials said that there is heavy rush of pilgrims from both the tracks and entire yatra route remains agog with festivities round the clock. In view of the increasing rush of the pilgrims Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) has made extraordinary arrangements for their convenience this year. The Jawans of SDRF and NDRF before the Mountaineering team of JKP are manning both the tracks besides, Army, BSF and CRPF jawans to ensure foolproof security to the pilgrims, officials said.

Yatris waiting in long queues at holy cave for darshan on Saturday.
Yatris waiting in long queues at holy cave for darshan on Saturday.

They said the that there is huge rush of pilgrims and 6529 yatris left Nunwan base camp for Chandanwari early this morning, while 11,017 proceeded to Chandanwari for Sheshnag transit camp and 12,823 headed to Sheshnag for Panchtarni, the last transit camp on way to holy cave via Nunwan -Pahalgam track.
Officials said 20,000 pilgrims left Baltal base camp for Srinagar by this afternoon after performing darshan at holy cave.
Officials said the weather in yatra area remained cloudy but dry during the day. However, it rained in the holy cave area during last night.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 7,392 pilgrims left for twin base camps from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here early this morning in a cavalcade of 272 vehicles under tight security arrangements.
Among them, 4,024 pilgrims preferred longest and traditional Nunwan-Pahalgam track in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district while 3,368 opted for shortest Baltal track in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
Officials said to avert the heavy rush on Pahalgam -Nunwan track 4,000 Amarnath Ji bound yatris who left this morning via Pahalgam track were stopped for night halt at Chanderkot Yatri Niwas in Ramban district by the authorities. These pilgrims will be allowed to leave towards their respective base camp early tomorrow morning, officials added.
Meanwhile, the unabated rush of pilgrims is continuing as thousands of yatris from different parts of country reach here daily. A huge rush is seen in front of registration counters where yatris are waiting in long queues to get themselves registered. Besides, huge rush of pilgrims is also seen at Yatri Niwas at Bhagwati Nagar and other lodges and community halls in the city.