JAMMU, July 6: Despite the downpour, over 20,000 pilgrims performed darshan at holy cave on the fifth day of two month long Swami Amarnath Yatra today. With this the total number of pilgrims performing darshan in the cave shrine since the first batch of pilgrims left from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on July 1 touched 65,495.
According to an official spokesman, 20,822 pilgrims paid obeisance to Ice Lingam in holy cave today while thousands of pilgrims where on way from both the tracks to cave shrine. The spokesman said 7453 pilgrims left the Baltal base camp for holy cave early this morning while, over 3000 pilgrims had reported back to Baltal after performing the darshan at holy cave lying in the lap of deep Himalayas of South Kashmir.
The spokesman said 1266 pilgrims left for cave shrine by air while 1009 returned from there. He said it was drizzling at twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan as well as on both the tracks to holy cave in the morning with the result the yatra was stopped for some time. But later the pilgrims were allowed to move ahead for darshan. The weather at Nunwan base camp and Baltal Base camp to holy cave was cloudy for entire day, spokesman added.
Spokesman said over 4000 pilgrims are stationed at Baltal to leave for holy cave early tomorrow morning.
He said 6834 pilgrims left from Nunwan Pahalgam base camp to holy cave early this morning despite the downpour. Besides, the yatris camping at the Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni also left for their onwards journey.
He said over 3000 pilgrims are also stationed at Pahalgam and Nunwan for their onwards journey tomorrow.
The spokesman said that the yatris embarking on Yatra via traditional Pahalgam route prefer to return via Baltal and 80 percent of the pilgrims take Baltal track for return to Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the yatris at Jammu are still facing the registration problems and the Board is under constant pressure to increase the daily quota for Jammu so that every yatri reporting here for darshan at holy cave gets hassle free registration.
This morning when yatris tried to enter the queue at 4am at Jammu Haat they were dispersed by police which did not allow them to enter the queue saying that no registration will be done today. This generated a lot of resentment against the police and Shrine Board and the activists of Bajrang Dal and VHP also protested against the same. They warned to take to streets if the behavior of police towards the pilgrims didn’t change.
However the Board in a handout issued today said that 8400 slots have been released by it for on spot registration at various counters today for the Yatra on July 9 and 10 from two Access Control Gates at Baltal and Chandanwari.
When contacted Additional Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Piyush Singla said further facilities are being provided at Jammu Haat for pilgrims so that they don’t feel any problem in registration.
Meanwhile a fresh batch of 2128 pilgrims left for holy cave from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas under tight security arrangements in a cavalcade of 59 vehicles. They included 1562 males, 399 females, 20 children and 147 Sadhus.
All these pilgrims have crossed the Jawahar tunnel by this evening and they were on their way to base camps.