Faith brings yatris to holy Amarnath cave even though Ice Shivlingam has melted

Srinagar, Aug 9: Even though the self made Ice-Shivlingam has now melted, it is the faith which brings the pilgrims to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, where over 2.75 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance since the commencement of the 60-day-long yatra from June 28.
The annual yatra will conclude on August 26, when the ” Chhari Mubarak”, holy silver mace of Lord Shiva will be taken inside the cave for final pujan before starting return journey in the evening same day.
About 300 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu base camp for Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps early Thursday morning.
Majority of the langar, pony and horse walls besides other service providers have left base camps and other halting stations as the number of pilgrims undertaking the yatra has come down considerably. Against thousands during the first month, it is now hundreds only, official sources said this morning.
The self made Ice Shivlingam, which was in the full size at the start of the yatra, has now completely melted.
However, it is the “Astha” which still brings yatris to holy cave even after the melting of Shivlingam. Bolay Nath is still there, said a group of pilgrims from Punjab, enjoying shikara ride in Dal Lake after paying obeisance at the cave shrine.
On the 42nd day of yatra on Wednesday, 659 pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine.Pilgrims who had night halt at nearby camps are reaching the cave shrine to pay obeisance since early this morning. With this, a total of over 2.75 lakh Yatris had the darshan of the Shivling at the Holy Cave. Majority of the pilgrims had returned to their homes after the annual pilgrimage.
A fresh batch of about 286 pilgrims left Baltal base camp for the holy cave shrine this morning. They said the yatris started their foot journey early this morning towards the cave. The pilgrims after covering the 14-km-long hilly track are expected to reach the holy cave in the afternoon to pay obeisance. The pilgrims who had night halt at cave shrine after darshan, have also started their return journey towards Baltal base camp.
A fresh batch of small number of yatris left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for Chandanwari, the last motorable halting station on traditional route.