Over 14,000 perform darshan, fresh batch of 6000 leaves for holy cave


SASB extends Online facility for puja

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 2:Over 14,000 yatris performed darshan at holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji in South Kashmir Himalayas on third day of yatra today while a fresh batch of over 6000 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas from here towards the twin base camps of Nunwan Pahalgam in South Kashmir district of Anantnag and Baltal in Central Kashmir district of Ganderbal.
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According to official sources, 14,487 pilgrims drawn from different parts of country paid obeisance at holy cave by1800 hours today from twin tracks of Baltal and Chandanwari.
With it, about 34,000 pilgrims have performed darshan of naturally formed Ice Lingam in holy cave since the yatra started on June 30.
Sources said hundreds of yatris camping at twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan started their onwards sojourn early in the morning under tight security arrangements after undergoing thorough security check up. Besides, the yatris who were camping at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni also started their onwards sojourn and yatris who performed darshan at cave shrine have also begun their return journey towards base camps.
Meanwhile, amid tight security arrangements, the fourth batch of 6,113 pilgrims, including 1,292 women, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here today to pay obeisance at the 3,880-metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
The pilgrims, also comprising 195 Sadhus and 25 children, will be reaching the twin base camps of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district later in the day.
Of the latest batch that left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp, the officials said 4,173 pilgrims left in a convoy of 148 vehicles for the Pahalgam base camp, while another 1,940 pilgrims preferred the Baltal route and departed in a fleet of 80 vehicles.
With this, 23,214 yatris have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
The yatra is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of ‘Shravan Purnima’ coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
The unabated rush of pilgrims is continuing with thousands of yatris reaching here from different parts of country daily. There is huge rush at registration counters and pilgrims are seen in long queues waiting for their turn from early in the morning.
Over 3000 pilgrims crossed Lakhanpur, the gateway of J&K in Kathua district by this evening while thousands of more pilgrims reached here via train and by air. The authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the boarding and lodging as well as fool proof security of pilgrims right from Lakhanpur to holy cave.
Meanwhile, in order to provide an opportunity for millions of devotees of Baba Amarnath Ji across the globe who could not come for the Yatra this year, the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board is extending the online facility for performing virtual puja, hawan and prasad booking for the devotees, officials said.
The devotees can book their puja, hawan, and prasad online, and priests at the holy cave will offer it in the devotee’s name, besides the prasad will be subsequently delivered at doorsteps of the devotees.
Chief Executive Officer, SASB, Nitishwar Kumar noted that the online services can be booked through Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board’s website www.shriamarnathjishrine.com by clicking Book Online Puja/ Hawan/Prasad link & through the Board’s Mobile application (which may be downloaded through the link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ncog.shriamarnath , by paying Rs 1100/- for virtual Puja, Rs. 1100/- for Prasad booking (with 5 gm silver coin of Shri Amarnathji), Rs. 2100/- for Prasad booking (with 10 gm silver coin of Shri Amarnathji) and Rs. 5100/- for the special hawan or combination of any of the above.
The Virtual Puja or Hawan would be carried out by the Pujaris at the cave shrine by pronouncing the name and Gotra of the devotee along with chanting of Mantras and Shlokas. ‘Maximizing the use of available technology and digitization, the devotees would be let in a virtual online room through Jio meet application wherein they can have a special virtual, Puja and Darshan of Lord Shiva,” he added.
“We have made an arrangement with the Postal Department for dispatching Prasad within 48 hours,” the CEO, SASB observed. Once the booking is done, the Shrine Board would share the link and date/time on the registered mobile number/ e-mail id of the devotee, he said. The portal has been developed by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) with the help of National Informatics Centre, J&K.