Srinagar: Over two lakh pilgrims have so far paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine and the yatra which was suspended thrice due to unrest in the Kashmir Valley is now continuing smoothly, officials said on Monday.
So far 2, 04,146 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine which houses the naturally-formed ice-shivlingam. 1646 pilgrims performed ‘darshan’ at the holy cave till 1 PM today while 3175 yatris visited the cave during the day yesterday, they said.
The 48-day yatra commenced from the twin tracks of the 42-km Pahalgam route in Anantang district and the 12-km shorter Baltal route in Ganderbal district on July 2. It is scheduled to conclude on August 18.
The officials said the yatra was going on smoothly from both the sides with fresh batches of over 1500 pilgrims leaving for the holy cave from the twin base camps of Baltal and Nunwan-Pahalgam this morning.
A total of 18 persons, including 15 yatris and a CRPF jawan, have died this year during the ongoing pilgrimage with cardiac arrest being the major cause for most of the deaths. Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has appreciated the progressively increasing number of pilgrims who are securing advance registration with a corresponding decrease in on-spot registration.
The Board also noted with satisfaction that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has deputed a good number of doctors from AIIMS, PGIMER, Safdarjung and RML Hospitals to assist the medical arrangements, the officials said.
The officials said the planned laying of optical fibre- cable along both the yatra routes will further strengthen the telecommunication facilities during the future pilgrimages. As part of continuous efforts to improve facilities provided to the pilgrims, the remaining work would be taken up immediately after conclusion of the yatra, officials said.
Various measures for solid waste management and removal of garbage in a scientific and environment friendly manner are also in the pipeline, the officials said. In a related development, the officials said authorities have decided to directly hold future registrations at Vaishnavi and Saraswati Dhams without tokens from Sangam Hall in Jammu region.
The token system was started this year in order to regulate the influx of yatris to the registration centres during the days when the quota for spot registration was much less then the demand. Since that situation no more exists, hence the decision was taken to end the requirement of seeking tokens for the yatra, the officials said.