JAMMU, July 5: Over 67,000 pilgrims drawn from different parts of country paid obeisance at holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji during last five days since the 46 day -long yatra started on July 1 from twin tracks of Baltal-Sonamarg and Nunwan Pahalgam.
On the fifth day of darshan 16,745 pilgrims prayed at holy cave on the fifth day of darshan today, officials said. Till yesterday evening, 50,483 pilgrims had performed darshan of naturally made Ice Lingam at holy cave situated at an altitude of 3880 meters from sea level in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag. With this, 67,228 pilgrims have offered prayers in the cave shrine till date.
Meanwhile, one pilgrim identified as Ashwani Kumar of Gurdaspur, Punjab died of heart attack at Neelgarh on way to holy cave today, the officials said, adding another pilgrim had also breathed his last two days back enroute to holy cave in Baltal area. This has taken the death toll to three so far. One SPO from Bani who was deployed at National Highway on Amarnathji yatra duty in Kathua area died in a road accident on July 2.
A critically ill pilgrim was evacuated by helicopter today from Panjtarni and brought to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, Srinagar on the directions of Governor, Satya Pal Malik who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB).
Officials said the yatri namely, Vishal Mittal from Uttar Pradesh, fell critically ill and was advised by doctors to be immediately shifted to SKIMS , Soura, Srinagar for specialized medical treatment. The patient was taken to SKIMS where doctors have started his treatment.
Officials said that the yatra is proceeding smoothly and there is heavy rush of pilgrims at both base camps of Nunwan -Pahalgam and Baltal-Sonamarg. Thousands of pilgrims are reporting at both the base camps daily to proceed for darshan. The weather in the holy cave area remained partially cloudy today, officials added.
Meanwhile, the sixth batch of 4722 pilgrims amid tight security left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal early this morning in a cavalcade of 185 vehicles, officials said.
They included 3670 men, 809 women, 28 children and 225 Sadhus. They were escorted by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) guard right from here to twin base camps. Officials said that these yatris had managed to reach the twin base camps by this evening.
Multi –tier security arrangements have been put in place for smooth and successful conduct of pilgrimage from Lakhanpur, the gate way of J&K, to holy cave this year.
Officials said that thousands of pilgrims including Sadhus from different parts of country reach Jammu daily to proceed for darshan of Ice Lingam in the holy cave. There is a heavy rush at the registration counters at Jammu and yatris are waiting in long queues to get themselves registered.
Over 5000 pilgrims are camping in Jammu out of them over 2000 have managed their entry into Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas by this evening to leave for darshan tomorrow.
According to reports, 2303 pilgrims crossed Lakhanpur towards Jammu during last 24 hours in 99 vehicles. The district administration of Kathua and Samba districts are providing them escort in their jurisdiction for their overall security, officials said.
As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at holy cave last year, while the numbers were 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3.20 lakh in 2016 and 2.60 lakh in 2017.