5,569 pilgrims perform darshan at holy cave

Shri Amarnath bound yatris at Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Shri Amarnath bound yatris at Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, July 21: Due to the Valley unrest following the killing of dreaded terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in South Kashmir district of Anantnag on July 8 resulting in suspension of pilgrimage from Jammu to Kashmir valley at a number of times, there has been considerable decline in the influx of Amarnath yatris into the State for last couple of days.
The unrest in Valley has affected the yatra to such an extent that the number of pilgrims leaving for holy cave from Jammu Yatri Niwas has decreased to 1000 and 1200 respectively in last two days when normally during first week of the pilgrimage over 3000 pilgrims were daily leaving for holy cave from Yatri Niwas here while thousands of pilgrims were leaving from outside without entering the Yatri Niwas.
Due to heavy rush of pilgrims over one lakh performed darshan at holy cave in the first week of yatra but later it declined considerably due to unrest in Valley.
On 20th day of yatra today, 5,569 pilgrims performed darshan at holy cave situated at an altitude of 13000 feet in Lidder Valley of South Kashmir. With this the total number of pilgrims paying their obeisance at cave shrine since the 48 day long yatra started on July 2 has reached 1,93,472. However, the number could have reached over three lakh by today had the yatra not been suspended for days together due to turmoil in Valley during last two weeks.
The 48 day long yatra will culminate on the day of Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan falling on August 18- the day on which holy mace of Lord Shiva will reach the cave shrine from Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar.
According to an official spokesman 1,711 pilgrims reached Baltal from Srinagar early this morning while 2,623 pilgrims left for holy cave from Baltal for darshan today.
He said 1,184 pilgrims left for holy cave via Chandanwari track today and they included 367 pilgrims who left from Nunwan base camp. Besides, 31 pilgrims left via chopper. He said 141 pilgrims reached Pahalgam after performing darshan at holy cave today.
He said 1282 pilgrims left from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for two base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal this afternoon in a cavalcade of 45 vehicles. These yatris had reached near Banihal when last reports came in and they will report at two base camps by late night.
The spokesman said that the weather at cave shrine and on both the yatra tracks was pleasant for the day. According to weather forecast issued for tomorrow the sky from Jammu to Banihal will be cloudy with possibility of light rain and thunder showers. From Banihal to Pahalgam and Banihal to Baltal it will be partially cloudy. The sky will be partially cloudy from Baltal to holy cave and Pahalgam to holy cave and there will be possibility of light rain or thundershowers.