Over 11,000 perform darshan; yatri, tent owner die at Panchtarni

Yatris on way to holy cave from Panchtarni on Wednesday —Excelsior/Sajad Dar
Yatris on way to holy cave from Panchtarni on Wednesday —Excelsior/Sajad Dar

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, July 20: On the 21st day of darshan, over 11,000 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country today paid obeisance at holy cave of Baba Amarnath Ji situated at an altitude of 3880 metres above the sea level in snow bound Himalayas in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
As per officials, 11,755 pilgrims today visited the cave shrine from twin tracks of Baltal and Chandanwari and performed darshan of naturally formed Ice Lingam by this evening. With this, total number of pilgrims who performed darshan in the cave shrine since the annual yatra of Baba Amarnath Ji started on June 30 this year, has touched 2,19, 434.
Meanwhile, two persons including one female yatri and a tent owner died at Panchtarni -the last camp on way to holy cave on Chandanwari track due to heart attack today. The yatri has been identified as Ranjana Ramchanddra Shinde, 56, of Maharashtra. She died of natural death. The dead body lies in Panchtarni Hospital and it will be shifted to Baltal tomorrow.
A tent owner identified as Gul Mohamemd of Akhar, Pahalgam also died of heart attack at Panchtarni and his body was shifted through a chopper to Pahalgam. With this, the death toll in ongoing pilgrimage has touched 35 excluding 15 pilgrims who died during cloudburst at Lower Cave on July 8.
Officials said the weather was cloudy during the day and it drizzled for half an hour at some places in yatra area also today but pilgrimage was not hindered and yatra passed smoothly.
Officials said that the rush of pilgrims is continuing as thousands of yatris report at twin base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam in Anantnag district of South Kashmir and Baltal in Central Kashmir district of Ganderbal daily.
Officials said, 2809 pilgrims were staying at Nunwan base camp during last night while 2537 left from there to holy cave this morning. Besides, 3389 pilgrims had night stay at Sheshnag Camp while 5439 pilgrims left from Sheshnag to holy cave.
Officials said 10417 pilgrims were having night stay at Panchtarni while 8052 left for holy cave from there during the day.
Reports said about 10,000 pilgrims were also staying at Baltal Base camp for the night and 8000 left for holy cave from there this morning. A yatri identified as Johan Lal, son of Jivrakhan of Chhattisgarh who fell ill has been shifted to Baltal base camp Hospital and he is undergoing treatment there.
Officials said that majority of pilgrims performed darshan during last 21 days at cave shrine have returned to their respective home states while others are on the way.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 4355 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar, Yatri Niwas here for the twin base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal early this morning under tight security arrangements in a cavalcade of 166 vehicles. These pilgrims have reached their respective base camps by this evening where from they will leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning.
Among them, 2509 pilgrims preferred the traditional and longest 48 kilometre Pahalgam -Chandanwari track while 1546 opted for shortest 14 km Baltal track.
The -43 day long yatra will culminate on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival falling on August 11 when holy mace of Lord Shiva from Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar will reach the cave shrine.
The Silver Mace of Lord Shiva commonly known as Chhari-Mubarak will be taken to historic Shankracharya Temple at Srinagar on July 28 and Sharika Bhawani Temple on July 29 by its sole custodian Mahant Deepndra Giri Ji Maharaj of Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar and other devotees before rituals are performed for Chhari-Sthapana at Shri Amareshwar Temple Dashnami Akhara Srinagar on Sunday, of July 31.
After performing Chhari-Pujan at Dashnami Akhara Srinagar on auspicious occasion of ‘Nag-Panchami’ on August 2, Mahant Deependra Giri Ji will carry the holy Mace to Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji to perform Pujan and have ‘Darshan’ on early morning of ‘Shravan-Purnima’, the 12th of August after having night halts at Pahalgam on 7th and 8th of August, Chandanwari on 9th of August, Sheshnag on 10th of August and Panchtarni on 11th of August, respectively.
Mahant Deependra Giri Ji, has already announced the programme for Chhari-Mubarak Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra-2022 for the information of Sadhus and public in general.
As per the age-old tradition, rituals namely ‘Bhoomi-Pujan’, ‘Navgrah Pujan’ and ‘Dhawajarohan’ connected with traditional commencement of annual pilgrimage of Chhari-Mubarak of Shri Amarnath Ji were performed at Pahalgam on auspicious occasion of ‘Ashad-Purnima’ (Vyas-Purnima) July, 13 this year.
The Mahant Ji has asked all the Sadhus accompanying the Chhari Mubarak Yatra to holy cave to get themselves registered. He said all the arrangements of boarding and lodging for Sadhus accompanying the Chhari Mubarak yatra to holy cave have been made by True Trust founded by him.