Sadhus Reach Jammu Ahead Of Annual Amarnath Yatra

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JAMMU, June 9:  The famous Ram Mandir in the old city reverberates with chants in praise of Lord Shiva as Sadhus from across the country have started reaching here to take part in the annual yatra to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas.
  The 52-day pilgrimage will commence from the twin tracks –the traditional 48 km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and the 14 km shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal — on June 29. A day ahead, the first batch of pilgrims will leave Jammu’s Bhagwati Nagar base camp and Ram Mandir for the valley.
The shrine houses the naturally formed ice-shivlingam and over 4.5 lakh pilgrims paid their obeisance at the 3,880 meter high shrine last year.
Ram Mandir in the Purani Mandi area of Jammu, the city of temples, hosts the Sadhus and Sadhvis at its sprawling complex with the government departments lending their support to ensure various facilities including on-the-spot registration for yatra for the visitors.
The temple head Mahant Rameshwar Dass said all necessary arrangements including the round-the-clock free community kitchen service and medical facilities are in place for the Sadhus, expressing confidence in a trouble-free yatra.
“The temple is serving them for generations, throughout the year. They are visiting the Amarnath shrine to seek blessings and pray for the welfare of the people and the country,” ass told PTI.
He said the people in Kashmir will welcome the pilgrims as per age-old tradition so they do not face any problems.
“We are expecting a massive rush of pilgrims to Amarnath this year, given the improved security situation in the valley,”he said, lauding the role of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and the security agencies for the positive change.  Amid chants of ‘Bam Bam Bhole and Jai Jai Baba Barfani’, the Sadhus and Sadhvis are eagerly waiting for the yatra to commence.
“This is my first pilgrimage to Amarnath shrine and I am excited to get the blessings of my lord,” Ram Baba, who had come from Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh said.
Gurvi Giri, a Sadhvi, said she has been visiting the cave shrine for the past five years, and it gives peace to her soul to be there.
Another Shiva devotee said he had come by foot from Himachal Pradesh in five days. “This is my 25th yatra without any break and I am feeling blessed to be here once again”.
A Sadhu from West Bengal is confident of undertaking the arduous journey to the shrine with the help of his belt tied to his back to overcome pain.
“I have done a lot of pilgrimage across the country having visited Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri. This time it came to my mind why should I leave Amarnath and start my journey,” he said, adding on the way, he came to know about the Ram Mandir and joined others here.