Amarnath yatra remains suspended for 2nd day

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Aug 6:  Though the Amarnath yatra remained suspended for the second consecutive day from here as a precautionary measure in view of the separatist-sponsored strike in the Valley against the legal challenge in the Supreme Court on the validity of Article 35A, 1300 pilgrims paid obeisance at holy cave on 40th day of darshan today.
According to an Officer on yatra duty, 1303 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country paid obeisance to the naturally formed Ice Lingam in the holy cave of Swami Amarnath situated at an altitude of 3880 metres in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag.
He said till date 2,74,118 yatris performed darshan at holy cave since the two month -long yatra started on June 28.
He said weather remained clear during the day in yatra area and the yatra proceeded normally from both the tracks. However, the number of pilgrims visiting the holy cave was very less as the Yatra remained suspended from Jammu for last two days.
The Officer said 125 yatris left from Baltal track for holy cave early this morning for darshan while 160 left via chopper during the day. He said near 1500 pilgrims are camping at Baltal Base Camp for the night and they included those pilgrims who returned to base camp after having darshan today.
He said no yatri was allowed to leave for Srinagar in view of the bandh call and the pilgrims camping at Baltal and Manigam transit camp will be allowed to leave for Srinagar tomorrow morning.
The Officer said that only 38 yatris left from Nunwan -Pahalgam base camp to holy cave via 32 km long Chandanwari track. Besides, the yatris camping at Sheshnag and Panjtarni transit camps also left for their onwards sojourn early this morning.
Meanwhile, 136 pilgrims were registered at the registration counters of Jammu today, Yatra Nodal Officer Arun Manhas said. He said about 400 pilgrims are camping at Jammu and they included the 166 pilgrims registered yesterday.
Police Officer said as a security measure, the yatra has been suspended from Jammu for the second day today.
Authorities have suspended the traffic from Jammu to Srinagar on the National Highway in the wake of the strike, he added.
Various religious and social organisations have given the two-day strike to safeguard the constitutional provision.
However in case of the normal situation the Yatra will be resumed from Jammu tomorrow morning the Officer said.
The two month long yatra will culminate on August 26 -Sawan Purnima, the day coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival when holy mace from its abode Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar reaches the cave shrine as per age old tradition.
The holy mace after performing traditional pooja at Sharika Bhawani temple, Hari Parbhat, Srinagar, Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar will leave for cave shrine and enroute it will perform Pooja at historical Durga Naga temple, Srinagar, temples of Pampore , Awantipora, Bijbehara, Anantnag and Mattan before leaving for Pahalgam on its way to cave shrine.
After performing darshan at cave shrine on August 26, the holy mace will return for Panjtarni on the same day for night halt where from it will proceed to Pahalgam next day. The two month annual yatra will culminate with performance of some rituals by the Sadhus at the bank of river Lidder.