600,000 pilgrims perform Amarnath Yatra


Srinagar : In less than a month, nearly 600,000 pilgrims have so far performed the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir, though it could be in for a rainy spell.

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“The Amarnath yatra is continuing peacefully from both the (north Kashmir) Baltal route and the (south Kashmir) Pahalgam routes. So far nearly six lakh pilgrims have performed the yatra,” a senior police officer told IANS here about the pilgrimage that started June 29 and ends Aug 13.

The weather office has forecast moderate to heavy rains along the mountain treks of Pahalgam and Baltal from July 25-29 of this month.

“The pilgrims are advised to consult the weather advisory before undertaking the trek either from the Baltal side or the Pahalgam side during these days,” the officer said.

He also said the ice stalagmite structure, which is the main attraction for the pilgrims as it is believed to symbolize the mythical powers of Lord Shiva, is still intact inside the cave shrine.

“The Shivlingam is around five feet tall inside the Holy cave this time,” the officer said.

Around 600,000 devotees have been inside the cave to have ‘darshan’ of the Shivlingam this year.

“Each human being radiates heat equivalent to a 100 watt electric bulb. You can imagine how much heat 600,000 human beings must have radiated inside the cave shrine,” said an engineer looking after the yatra arrangements in the Baltal base camp.

So far, 82 pilgrims have died of natural causes during the yatra.