8,659 pilgrims pay obeisance at holy cave on day 23 of yatra

Pilgrims on their way to the Holy Cave of Shri Amarnath via traditional Chandanwari track on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Sajjad Dar
Pilgrims on their way to the Holy Cave of Shri Amarnath via traditional Chandanwari track on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Sajjad Dar

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 23: On the 23rd day of darshan at holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji situated in deep Himalayas at 3880 metres height in South Kashmir district of Anantnag, 8,659 pilgrims paid obeisance to Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva today.
Till date 2,94,040 pilgrims drawn from different parts of country have performed the darshan at holy cave during this year’s ongoing yatra which started on July 1 from twin tracks of Baltal- Sonamarg in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district and Nunwan-Pahalgam in South Kashmir district of Anantnag, officials said .
They said the yatra is going smoothly from both the tracks and the weather in holy cave area remained pleasant throughout the day. The yatris who performed darshan at holy cave today started their return journey towards the base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal –Sonamarg in the evening.
Officials said among the 2,94040 pilgrims who performed darshan at holy cave till today majority has returned to their home states while others are on their way. The rush of pilgrims continues and there is festivity on both the base camps as well as twin tracks and holy cave.
Meanwhile one pilgrim died at holy cave due to cardiac arrest today. He has been identified as Narayan, son of Ram Lal of Gurnar Indore, MP.
A fresh batch of 3,060 pilgrims under tight security arrangements left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for twin base camps of Nunwan and Baltal in a cavalcade of 132 vehicles early this morning.
As per reports all these pilgrims have reached their respective base camps by this evening where from they will leave for their onwards sojourn early tomorrow morning.
Reports reaching here from Kathua said that 1,113 pilgrims crossed the Lakhanpur Gate Way to Jammu during last 24 hours in 66 vehicles while hundreds of pilgrims have reached here from different parts of the country through train services.
All the pilgrims are in high spirits and they were seen dancing and chanting “Bum Bum Bholey’’ in front of registration counters in the city here. Reports said about 1500 pilgrims have managed their entry in Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas by this evening while some were on their way. These pilgrims will leave for twin base camps from here early tomorrow morning, officials said.
It may be recalled that the 46 day -long yatra will culminate on the Hindu festival of Sawan Purnima coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan falling on August 15 after the holy mace of Lord Shiva reaches the cave Shrine from its abode Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar.
Led by its sole custodian, Mahant Deependra Giri Ji and accompanied by Sadhus and other devotees the holy mace will leave for cave shrine from Srinagar on Naag Panchmi falling on August 5. After halts at Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni the holy mace will reach the cave shrine in the morning of August 15 to perform traditional day-long pooja before starting its return journey towards Panjtarni in the evening.