Yatra breaks 4 years’ record; 3 lakh perform darshan in 24 days

Yatris on way to holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji via Chandanwari track on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Sajjad Dar
Yatris on way to holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji via Chandanwari track on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Sajjad Dar

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, July 24: Over three lakh pilgrims have performed darshan in holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji in last 24 days breaking the record of four years when during 59 days of yatra in 2015 three lakh pilgrims had visited the cave shrine.
On 24th day of the ongoing Shri Amarnath Ji yatra, today 7,778 pilgrims paid obeisance at the holy cave of Lord Shiva and cumulatively since the beginning of the pilgrimage on July 1, this year , 3,01,818 yatris had darshan at the cave shrine situated in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag at a height of 3880 meters from sea level, officials said.
Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB) informed Governor, Satya Pal Malik that the yatra had crossed the three lakh mark four years ago in 2015 which was a 59 day long pilgrimage.
The Governor expressed satisfaction over increased flow of yatris this year and recorded high appreciation of the coordinated effort made by the various concerned State Government departments and agencies, Army, Central Armed Police Forces, J&K Police, Shrine Board, all local stakeholders, and the civil and police officers of the State Government deployed as camp officers for the smooth conduct of Yatra.
He also appreciated the people of the Valley, particularly of Anantnag and Ganderbal districts, for their strong support and wholehearted participation in this annual pilgrimage. He wished the yatris who are registered for pilgrimage in the coming dates, a safe and a satisfactory pilgrimage.
Officials said that the yatra is proceeding normally from both the shorter Baltal and traditional Chandanwari tracks.
The weather during the day remained pleasant in the yatra area right from Pahalgam as well as Baltal to holy cave. However, it drizzled in the evening and sky was overcast with clouds in entire yatra area, officials said, adding but this did not disturb the pilgrimage.
Officials said that one pilgrim died at Baltal due to cardiac arrest. He was identified as Babu Bhai of Ahmadabad, Gujarat. Besides, a conductor with Amarnath yatri bus was found dead near Chichi Mata temple in Samba district this morning. The pilgrims were returning to their home State after performing darshan at holy cave. He has been identified as Simrat, 26, son of Bela Ram of Madhya Pradesh. Samba police is investigating the cause of his death.
Meanwhile , a fresh batch of 2,723 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for twin base camps of Baltal in Ganderbal district of Central Kashmir and Nunwan-Pahalgam of Anantnag district of South Kashmir in a cavalcade of 100 vehicles under tight security arrangements early this morning.
Reports reaching here said that all these pilgrims have reached their base camps by this evening where from they will leave for their next sojourn early tomorrow morning. The yatris are cheerful and high in spirits. They were seen chanting `Bum Bum Bholey’ and singing the bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva right from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas up to the base camps.
Reports said 1000 Amarnath bound pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country crossed the gateway of Lakhanpur for Jammu in last 24 hours in 89 vehicles. Besides, a large number of pilgrims also reached here via different trains from several parts of the country since yesterday evening.
The 46 day long yatra will culminate on Sawan Purnima coinciding with festival of Raksha Bandhan on August 15 when the holy mace of Lord Shiva will reach cave shrine from its abode Dashnami Akhara Srinagar in the Kashmir valley.