13th batch of 3,451 Amarnath pilgrims leaves from Jammu

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Jul 13: Amid rains, the 13th batch of 3,451 pilgrims on Friday left from Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for Amarnath Cave Shrine in a convoy of 110 vehicles chanting ‘bam bam bhole’ and about 6,000 pilgrims, including women and sadhus left for holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
Over 1.52 lakh yatris paid obeisance since the commencement of the 60-day-long pilgrimage from June 28 from both traditional Pahalgam and shortest Baltal tracks.
“The pilgrims left from here to perform pilgrimage from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes,” an official here said.
He said that the pilgrims, 2,561 males, 790 females, 77 sadhus and 23 Sadhvis, left in 64 buses and 46 light motor vehicles.
Meanwhile, 20 pilgrims besides two service providers, have died due to health reasons and accidents during the first 15 days of pilgrimage till yesterday. Officials said that pilgrimage was progressing smoothly to holy cave shrine from both sides.
They said On the 15th day of the ongoing pilgrimage yesterday, about 18,500 yatris paid obeisance at the Holy Cave. A fresh batch of about 3,800 pilgrims left Baltal base camp for the holy cave shrine early Friday morning. The pilgrims are scheduled to pay obeisance at the cave shrine after covering the 14-km-long hilly track on foot this afternoon. Meanwhile, pilgrims, who had night halt at a camp after darshan yesterday, have started their return journey to base camp this morning.
Similarly, a fresh batch of about 2,200 pilgrims also left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for Chandanwari, the first halting station on traditional track, which could be reached by vehicles also. Meanwhile, pilgrims, who had night halt at Chandanwari and other halting stations on the route, have also started their journey on foot towards the cave shrine early this morning.
Meanwhile, officials said that 20 pilgrims and two yatra providers have died so far since the commencement of the yatra.
They said 14 pilgrims died due to medical reasons and eight pilgrims died in accidents at different locations. The mortal remains of 17 deceased yatris and one Service Provider were transported by air to airports near their homes in Bihar, West Bengal, Hyderabad, Gujarat and New Delhi.
The bodies of three deceased yatris and one Service Provider were transported by road to their native places. The Board has also borne the cost of travel of one person who will escort the mortal remains of the deceased pilgrim to his or her home town. As on July 11, 2018, the Board had paid Rs 24 lakh as ex-gratia and spent about Rs 5 lakh on account of transportation cost of the mortal remains of deceased Yatris to their home towns along with one attendant.
As on July 12, 2018, 69 Yatris had been admitted to SKIMS, out of whom, 58 have been discharged and the rest are still under treatment.