Despite downpour, over 20,000 perform darshan

Yatris waiting in long queue in front of a registration counter near Railway Station on Sunday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Yatris waiting in long queue in front of a registration counter near Railway Station on Sunday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Pilgrim dies, 8 CRPF men hurt

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 16: Despite the downpour during the day at holy cave and the twin tracks of Baltal and Nunwan-Pahalgam, over 20,000 pilgrims paid obeisance at Himalayan cave of Lord Shiva in Lidder Valley by this evening.
According to officials, on the 16th day of yatra today, 20,806 pilgrims paid obeisance of naturally formed Ice Lingam in the cave shrine despite the downpour during the day taking the total number of pilgrims who performed darshan at holy cave till now to 2,29,221 since the 62 day yatra started on July 1 from twin tracks of Baltal in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district and Nunwan-Pahalgam in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Officials said these pilgrims included 15,275 male, 4855 female, 447 children, 219, Sadhus, five Sadhvis and five transgender.
Officials said 5638 pilgrims were camping at Nunwan during last night while 9122 were camping at Sheshnag. There is an unprecedented rush of pilgrims this year and the yatris are in high spirits.
Officials said the rain continued during the day in entire yatra route however the yatra was not disrupted and it plied normally.
Meanwhile, ADG Police Alok Kumar along with other officers visited Baltal today and took stock of the arrangements besides reviewing security measures for the yatrtis, officials said.
Officials said one more pilgrim died while eight CRPF personnel who were on their way to offer prayers at cave shrine were injured in a road accident in Ganderbal district of Kashmir valley today.
Meghnath, 65, of Chhattisgarh was found unconscious at Pissu Top along the Pahalgam route to the holy cave today. He was shifted to Hospital where doctors declared him as brought dead, the officials said. With this, the death toll in ongoing pilgrimage has risen to 27.
Eight CRPF personnel were injured when their vehicle fell into the Sindh nallah while they were on their way to Amarnath Ji shrine via Baltal route , officials said.
The injured were rescued and taken to the Baltal base camp hospital, they said.
Officials said that the majority of yatris who performed darshan at cave shrine during last 16 days have left for their home states while others are on the way.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 6,684 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here for the twin base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal early this morning under tight security measures in a cavalcade of 241 vehicles.
They included 4,498 male, 1,991 female, 34 children, 140 Sadhus and 21 Sadhvis. Among them 3686 preferred the longest and traditional Nunwan -Pahalgam track while 2,998 opted for shortest Baltal track, officials said.
Officials said the 4,000 Amarnath bound pilgrims who were halted at Chanderkot Yatri Niwas in Ramban district yesterday also left for Nunwan -Pahalgam base camp early this morning.
Meanwhile, the rush of yatris is increasing day by day in Jammu as thousands of pilgrims reach here daily. Huge queues of yatris are seen in front of offline registration counters in Jammu waiting for their turn to get themselves registered.
The yatris also faced lot of problem as the road near the registration counter at Railway Station has totally submerged in rain water.