Undeterred by attack, yatris leave base camps for holy Amarnath cave

A woman pilgrim being carried in a palanquin to holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji at Pishoo Top on Thursday. -Excelsior/Sajad Dar
A woman pilgrim being carried in a palanquin to holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji at Pishoo Top on Thursday. -Excelsior/Sajad Dar


SRINAGAR:  Undeterred by the militant attack on a yatra bus that left seven dead and 21 others wounded in Anantnag, a fresh batch of about 9,000 pilgrims left Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps for the holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.

     Meanwhile, over 1.49 lakh devotees had paid obeisance at the cave shrine during the past 12 days, since the commencement of the 40-day-long pilgrimage from June 29. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra expressed concern over the death of 14 pilgrims since the commencement of the yatra.

     Seven more worshippers had died in a militant attack at Anantnag last night, in which 21 others were wounded.

     A fresh batch of over 3000 pilgrims left Bagwati Nagar base camp at Jammu for base camps in Kashmir early this morning.

     Despite wet weather and militant attack, the pilgrimage was progressing smoothly to the cave shrine.

    A fresh batch of over 3600 pilgrims, including women and sadhus, left Baltal base camp early this morning for the holy cave shrine.

    The pilgrims are likely to reach the cave shrine after covering the distance of about 14 km hilly track on foot.

    Similarly, the pilgrims who had a night halt near the cave shrine camp, have also started their return journey to Baltal early this morning, a yatra official said.

    Meanwhile, the devotees, who had returned to base camp after having paid obeisance yesterday, left for their homes this morning under unprecedented security arrangements.

     The official said that a fresh batch of about 5000 yatris, who had arrived yesterday from Jammu, also left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for Chandanwari, the first halting station on the traditional route.

     The pilgrims, who had night halt at Chandanwari and other halting stations on the traditional route, have also started their foot journey towards the cave shrine.

    The yatra official said the pilgrims, who had night halt at Panjterni, have also proceeded towards the shrine early this morning. Majority of them have paid obeisance at the cave shrine, while others are on way, he added.

      He said majority of the devotees, undertaking yatra from the traditional track, are also returning via Baltal track.

    Total 11921 yatris paid obeisance at the cave shrine yesterday and with this, a total of 1,46,692 worshippers, including women and sadhus, from different parts of the country, had darshan of the self made Ice-Shivlingam since June 29.

     Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) Umang Narula said that till date, 14 pilgrims had died at various locations on both the shortest Balta and the traditional Pahalgam routes, since start of the Yatra.

     Of these 14, two persons died due to accidents caused by shooting stones and an accident, while the other 12 died due to medical reasons. One pilgrim from Telangana died due to a cylinder blast at Veesu-Mir Bazar, Qazigund, outside the Yatra area and two persons, an ITBP  Personnel and an ISRO Technician died before the start of Yatra due to cardiac failures.

    The CEO said so far, six seriously ill pilgrims have been evacuated by Helicopter to Baltal and Srinagar.

         Seven pilgrims were killed and 21 others injured in a militant attack on their vehicle at Anantnag on Srinagar-Jammu national highway.



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