AMARNATH YATRA BEGINS
Sunday, 29 June 2014 | Khursheed Wani | Srinagar | in Sunday Pioneer
The annual Shri Amarnath pilgrimage began in Kashmir Valley on Saturday with first batch of yatris departing from shorter but treacherous Baltal route chanting religious hymns.
The pilgrims were flagged off by Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal Sarmad Hafeez at Baltal Base Camp after the crack of dawn to proceed towards the Holy Cave situated at an altitude of 3,888 meters and 141 km south from here deep in the Himalayan mountains. An ice stalagmite formed naturally and believed to be the representation of Lord Shiva.
Sources said that five thousand pilgrims had darshan of the ice lingam by 5 o’clock in the evening.Jammu & Kashmir Governor NN Vohra who is the ex-officio Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board that manages and regulates the annual yatra was among the first to visit the cave and attend special prayers (pratham pujan) inside the cave where a full-size lingam has formed.
Around 7,000 pilgrims left the Base Camp at 5 am including 200 women and dozens of children and sadhus.The pilgrims chanting “Bam Bam Bhole” slogans wore headgears inscribed with religious messages and carried saffron flags and sticks (lathis).Adequate security and other logistics arrangements have been put in place by the district administration in collaboration with SASB and other allied agencies to ensure smooth conduct of yatra.
Governor also inaugurated the helicopter service for the pilgrims. The trekking takes seven hours for the pilgrims to reach the holy cave while sorties take ten minutes from Baltal.Everyday 6,000 pilgrims would reach the cave by foot and 1,500 by availing chopper service. In view of closure of Pahalgam-Sheshnag route due to considerable snow accumulation in the entire area of the Sheshnag Yatra Camp, the yatra through the traditional route has been deferred till June 30.This year’s yatra has been scheduled for 45 days.
Source: Via WHN Publisher Email