JAMMU, July 26: The Amarnath yatra from Jammu remained suspended today due to bad weather conditions along the National Highway to Kashmir valley. However, the yatra plied on both the tracks of holy cave of Shri Amarnath normally, officials said.
On the 26th day of darshan today, 5,745 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country paid obeisance at cave shrine situated at the height of 3880 meters from sea level.
Till date 3,14,584 yatris have paid obeisance to naturally formed Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva in holy cave since the yatra started from both shorter Baltal track and traditional Chandanwari route on July 1, officials said.
They said the majority of pilgrims who paid obeisance at holy cave in last 26 days had returned to their home States while others are on the way.
The pilgrims who paid obeisance in the Himalayan cave shrine today also started their return journey towards the base camps of Baltal in Ganderbal district of Central Kashmir and Nunwan -Pahalgam in Anantnag district of South Kashmir, officials said.
The weather in holy cave area remained cloudy and it drizzled during the day also but the yatra on both the tracks progressed smoothly, officials said.
Over 3.30 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so far registered themselves for the 46-day pilgrimage. Besides, the Government has opened fresh registration counters in Jammu and Srinagar to facilitate smooth pilgrimage.
“The Amarnath yatra has been suspended from Jammu to Kashmir due to bad weather conditions along highway today,” an official on yatra duty said.
There was heavy rainfall in Jammu and along the route to Kashmir on Thursday and it continued through the night, he said.
This is the third time the yatra had to be suspended from Jammu. On July 8, the yatra was suspended as a precautionary measure following a strike called by separatists in the Kashmir valley to mark the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
On July 13, it was again suspended in view of a separatists-sponsored strike in the Kashmir valley on Martyrs’ Day.
Officials said over 4000 pilgrims are camping at Jammu today. Out of them, 2000 are in Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas while others are in various halls in different parts of the city. These pilgrims will leave for holy cave tomorrow provided the weather permits and there is no heavy rainfall, officials said.
Reports reaching here said that 316 Shri Amarnath bound pilgrims crossed the gateway of Lakhanpur for Jammu today in 38 vehicles. Besides, hundreds of more pilgrims reached here via train service from different parts of the country.
However, the rush has declined slightly in view of the opening of educational institutions which were closed for Summer vacation and heavy rains which lashed various parts of the country.
The 46 day -long Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra will culminate on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival falling on August 15 when holy mace of Lord Shiva led by its custodian Deependra Giri Ji and accompanied by Sadhus and other devotees reaches the holy cave from its abode Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar.
The holy mace will leave the Srinagar on Nag Panchmi falling on August 5 and after night halts at Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni, it will reach holy cave in the early morning of Shravan Purnima. After day -long Puja in a traditional way by the Sadhus led by Mahant Ji, the holy mace will start its return journey towards the Pahalgam. It will have a night halt at Panchtarni. Next day, it will leave for Pahalgam where after a holy dip in river Lidder on another day the traditional Prashad will be served to Sadhus and other devotees before the holy mace leaves for Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar.