Amarnath pilgrimage going on smoothly

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Srinagar, Jun 30 (UNI) Despite the strike and land controversy, pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalyas was going on smoothly with thousands of yatris taking ''darshan'' of the Shivlingam daily.

So far, more than 3.5 lakh pilgrims have visited the shrine, most of them through the shortest Baltal route, since the commencement of the two-month-long pilgrimage on June 18.

Barring a few incidents of stone pelting on yatri vehicles, there was no report of any major attack on pilgrims.

Almost all separatist organisations besides chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat Conference (HC) Syed Ali Shah Geelani have appealed to people to extend all possible help to the pilgrims.

They have also requested people to provide food and shelter to tourists and yatris who are facing difficulties because of the closure of all hotels and other restaurants due to the strike.

A number of mohalla committees in different areas of the city, particularly in Dal Lake area, have been arranging food for the yatris for the past week.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) today said yatra to the holy cave was resumed today from Jammu after remaining suspended yesterday.

He said hundreds of vehicles carrying 3531 pilgrims left Jammu for the advanced base camps at Pahalgam and Baltal.

He said the both the routes for the yatra were opened this morning.

The spokesman said 5810 pilgrims left from Pahalgam for the cave through the traditional route while 1416 left from shortest Baltal trek.

Notwithstanding intermittent downpour enroute the Cave Shrine yesterday, 15070 pilgrims trekked to pay obeisance and have darshan.

Of these 6,569 pilgrims left from Baltal and 8501 from Pahalgam while 769 flew in helicopters from Baltal to the Holy Cave, the spokesman added.


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