Over 12,000 perform darshan at holy cave, 2 pilgrims die

Huge rush of pilgrims near holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji on Friday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Huge rush of pilgrims near holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji on Friday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Unabated rush continues

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 15: With unabated rush of Shri Amarnath Ji yatra continuing, over 12,000 pilgrims coming from different parts of the country performed darshan of naturally formed Ice Lingam in holy cave, situated in deep Himalayas of South Kashmir by this evening.
According to an official of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), 12,256 pilgrims paid obeisance at cave shrine by this evening. With this, the total number of pilgrims performing the darshan in last 16 days of yatra which started from June 30, has touched 1,64,024.
The official said that there is heavy rush of pilgrims as thousands of yatris from rest of country report at base camps of Baltal and Nunwan in Ganderbal district of Central Kashmir and Anantnag district of South Kashmir daily. As per reports, there were over 10,000 pilgrims at Baltal base camp during last night while thousands of pilgrims were at base camp of Nunwan and other camps on Chandanwari track.
The official said 6556 pilgrims were camping at Sheshnag camp during last night while 13108 yatris were stationed at Panchtarni. Out of them, 7777 left from Panchtarni to holy cave for darshan today, he added.
Official said two pilgrims died on way to holy cave today. One unidentified dead body of a lady was recovered at Sangam river at 2.45 near Army Halipad. She seemed to be 40 years of age. Her identity is being ascertained.
Another pilgrim identified as Patil Rameshori Ratilal, son of Patil Rati Lal of Gujarat died at Baltal base camp. The official said that he fell unconscious at Baltal base camp and was shifted to base hospital where he breathed his last.
Pawan son of Ram Lal of Paloura Jammu complained a severe chest pain and was shifted to Baltal Hospital on Palki. His nephew Sanjay Puri said that he was not provided the chopper or any other mode of transport despite repeated pleas.
With this, the death toll during the ongoing 43 day long pilgrimage has risen to 28 excluding 15 pilgrims who died during cloud burst of last Friday.
Meanwhile, the rush of pilgrims is day by day increasing as thousands of yatris from different parts of country reached here today also. Reports said that 3500 pilgrims crossed the gateway of Lakhanpur in Kathua district by this evening while thousands of more pilgrims reached here via train and air.
Also a huge rush is seen in front of registration counters in Jammu where yatris are waiting in long queues braving the heavy downpour to get themselves registered for pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji.
Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 5461 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here early this morning in a cavalcade of 220 vehicles under tight security arrangements for twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan.
Out of them, 3486 pilgrims preferred traditional and 48 km long Pahalgam Chandanwari track while 1975 pilgrims opted for shortest 14 kilometre Baltal track. These pilgrims have reached their respective destinations by this evening where from they will leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning. While the journey from Chandanwari track to holy cave is of three nights, that of Baltal track is of one night only.
Official said that majority of pilgrims who performed the darshan in cave shrine during last 16 days have reached their respective States while others are on the way. The 43 day long yatra will conclude on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Rakshan Bandhan festival when Silver Mace of Lord Shiva will reach the cave shrine from its abode Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar in Kashmir valley.