Amarnath Yatra resumes from Jammu, Pahalgam track

JAMMU, JUL 1: After remaining suspended for a day due to inclement weather, the Amarnath Yatra resumed from here today, as the fourth batch of 6,877 pilgrims left for the twin base camps in Kashmir, officials said, meanwhile Yatra to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas resumed from traditional Pahalgam track on Sunday morning, while decision to allow pilgrims from shortest Baltal route will be taken later, official sources said.
The pilgrims, including 1,429 women and 250 Sadhus, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here in the morning for Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in 229 vehicles under tight security arrangements, they said.
The Yatra from Jammu was allowed to resume after traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was restored. Traffic on the highway was suspended yesterday as a precautionary measure due to threat of floods in the Valley.
As the water level in the Jhelum River started receding, the authorities decided to allow the pilgrims from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp to join the Yatra.
Among the fourth batch, 4,087 pilgrims have preferred the 36-km traditional Pahalgam track in Anantnag district, the others have opted the shorter 12-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
Despite incessant rains, the pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 28 after several hours of delay, but faced frequent disruptions owing to continuous rainfall.
The 60-day Yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 26 coinciding with the ‘Raksha Bandhan’ festival.
With improvement in the weather, helicopter service will also be resumed today, sources said.
Chanting ‘Bam Bam Bholay’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’, several thousand pilgrims, including women and Sadhus, left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp this morning for the holy Amarnath cave shrine after remaining stranded there for three days due to slippery road conditions following heavy rain.
They said majority of the pilgrims will prefer night stay at Chandanwari, the last motorable halting station on traditional Pahalgam track, 16 km from base camp.
From Chandanwari, the pilgrims have to start foot journey towards the next halting station at Pissu top. It is said that to be the first to reach for Darshan of Lord Shiva, there was a war between god (Devtas) and demons (Rakshasas).
With the power of Shiv, Devtas could kill the demons as in such large number that the heap of their bodies resulted in this high mountain. Yatra from shortest Baltal track remained suspended due to slippery hilly track and there were landslides at some places.
Governor N N Vohra, who is also chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), had on Saturday had directed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the board Umang Narula to closely monitor the track conditions and get it repaired before allowing the movement of Yatris.
The agencies concerned should be kept on alert to promptly restore the tracks for the safe movement of Yatris on this track. Over 12,000 pilgrims have been stopped at Baltal base camp. On the first two days of 60-day-long annual pilgrimage, which commenced from June 28, about 2,600 pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave shrine.
Yesterday, 587 pilgrims had Darshan of the self-made ice-Shivalingam at the cave shrine. These pilgrims had reached there after some sorties of helicopters could operate for short period when there was improvement in the visibility.
On the fourth day of Shri Amarnathji Yatra 10,935 pilgrims paid obeisance at Holy Cave. (AGENCIES)