Bangalore, June 29: The spirituality of the Indians seems to be unfazed by any adverse situation or potential danger. And why not, the firm belief that God's grace can never leave them, unless it is destiny that wishes otherwise, keeps the Indians going.
Over 12,700 people alone have registered for the yatra for the first day, i.e. June 28th. "A grand total of 12,717 pilgrims have secured registration for the first day of yatra (June 28) for both Pahalgam and Baltal routes," a spokesman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the shrine said.
As per reports, 6,567 pilgrims have registered for the Baltal route, while the Pahalgam route is preferred by 6,150 people. sources say that for this year, the SASB has fixed a limit of 7,500 pilgrims per day per route. Approximately 1,000 to 1,400 pilgrims are likely to avail the Heliservices up to Panjtarni. However, this depends on the number of sorties that can be dedicated during the day time. On an overall basis, over 600,000 people have registered themselves for the yatra.
Post the Uttarakhand floods, SASB is maintaining strict discipline in managing the crowds. "We would not allow any unregistered pilgrim. They would be stopped right away at the Baltal and the Pahalgam camps. Again, this is in lieu of the fact that a lot of people had lost their lives last year. "Four thousand unregistered yatris were turned back by us from Manigam transit camp this (Friday) morning," said Shahid Mehraj, Ganderbal's superintendent of police.
Furthermore, a valid health certificate is required for all yatris, and only those between the age of 13 and 75 years will be allowed to undertake the month-long journey.
The journey till now
The yatra started on a high note on Friday, but Saturday saw it suspended due to adverse climatic conditions. The pilgrims are now stationed at Baltal and Pahalgam.
"We are sure that the yatra would resume shortly, Bhole baba is with us," said Sanjeev srivastava from Bhojpur.
" I have taken up this yatra to pay my respects to the Uttarakhand victims. I still have faith in God and things would happen as they are to happen. Nobody can stop it. If I have to die, I would die sitting back at home also," said another optimistic pilgrim.
Things to worry about
Although the Chief Minister of Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, snubs the rumours, the fact that a possible terror attack by separatist guerillas cannot be ignored.
A three-tier security, comprising the Army, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the state police has been designed around the two base camps and the three transit camps.
Moreover, batches of security forces have also been deployed along the highways used to reach the transit and the base camps. "This could double up as an emergency back-up in case anything of the Uttarakhand sort happens," said the spokesperson of the SASB.
Braving the nature and the external sources, the yatris are enthusiastic about the trip and to keep that flame of optimism burning, they cry "Bam Bhole"-something that they would require through the journey.
The first batch of Amarnath pilgrims on way to the holy cave shrine, at Baltal on Friday.
A security person stands guard as first batch of Amarnath Pilgrims are on their way to the holy cave shrine.
Sadhus undergo medical check-up as they wait to register themselves for the Amarnath Yatra at base camp in Jammu on Friday.
Temporary sheds and langars
Temporary sheds and langars being set up ahead of the Amarnath Yatra near Sonamarg base camp,115 kms from Srinagar on Sunday.
Army man checks a base camp
An army man checks a base camp with a metal detector at Amarnath Yatra route in Baltal on Sunday.
Army jawan stands guard at Amarnath Yatra
An army jawan stands guard at Amarnath Yatra route in Baltal on Sunday.
Sadhus singing religious songs
Sadhus singing religious songs as they wait to register themselves for the Amarnath Yatra at a base camp in Jammu on Monday.
Sadhus sing religious songs
A group of sadhus sing religious songs as they begin the pilgrimage of the Amarnath shrine with the first batch in Jammu on Thursday.
Hindu pilgrims dance and shout religious slogans
Hindu pilgrims dance and shout religious slogans as they begin the pilgrimage of the Amarnath shrine with the first batch in Jammu on Thursday.
Sadhus walk towards the holy shrine of Amarnath
Sadhus walk towards the holy shrine of Amarnath as others wait at Chandanwari base camp on Thursday.
Devotees shouting religious slogans
Devotees shouting religious slogans at Nunwan base camp on the way to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath on Friday.