6,000 perform Amarnath Yatra on 31st day, total crosses 3.97 lakh

Over 6,000 devotees paid obeisance at the cave shrine on the 31st day of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra as another batch of 1,006 pilgrims left Jammu for the Valley on Tuesday. 

Officials said since this year’s Amarnath Yatra which started on July 1, so far over 3.97 lakh have had ‘darshan’ inside the holy cave. 

Thirty six pilgrims have died during the Yatra so far. 

“A batch of 1,006 Yatris, including 749 male, 215 female, two children, 37 Sadhus and three Sadhvis left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu in an escorted convoy for the Valley today morning,” officials said. 

Pilgrims approach the Himalayan cave shrine either from the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam route, which involves an uphill trek of 43 kilometres from Pahalgam base camp or from the north Kashmir Baltal base camp, which involves 14 Km uphill trek. 

Those using the traditional Pahalgam route take 3-4 days to reach the cave shrine. While those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after having ‘darshan. Inside the cave shrine situated 3888 metres above the sea-level. 

Helicopter services are also available for Yatris on both routes.

The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that devotees believe symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva. 

The ice stalagmite structure wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. 

This year’s 62-day long Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end on August 31 on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival. 

To protect the pilgrims from high altitude sickness, authorities have banned all junk food. At the free community kitchens called the ‘langars’ that have been set up along both the routes of the Yatra. 

The banned items include all bottled drinks, halwai items, fried foods and tobacco based products. 

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