Srinagar, Aug 16 (UNI) Two-month-long annual Amarnath pilgrimage culminated today after the ''Charri Mubarak''(silver mace of Lord Shiva) reached the cave shrine, situated at 3880 metres in the Himalayas of south Kashmir.
Chatting 'Bam Bam Bolay' and other religious slogans, a large number of pilgrims led by Mahanat Dipender Giri, custodian of 'charri mubarak', entered the cave shrine after a night halt at Panjtherni.
The 'charri mubarak' will start return journey in the afternoon for Pahalgam where puja will be held before bringing the holy mace back to Dashnami Akhara here. Notwithstanding the curfew, strike and other disturbances on the Amarnath shrine land row, a record number of 5.5 lakh pilgrims from all over the country, besides good number of sadhus, payed homage to the self- made ice shivlingam.
This is for the first time in the 160-year history of pilgrimage after the cave was discovered by a Muslim, that such a large number of yatris visited the shrine from both traditional Pahalgam and shortest Baltal routes, since June 18.
The agitation over land issue did not affected the morale of the pilgrims, who were extended all help by the local people in Kashmir to complete the yatra.
However, strike and curfew in Jammu had forced intending yatris to cancel their trip.
About 60 pilgrims, including some locals, died natural death and accidents during the pilgrimage period.
UNI BAS LPB HT1538