More than 1 lakh pilgrims perform Amarnath Yatra in 8 days

JAMMU: More than one lakh pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra for the past eight days, while another lot of 5,964 yatris left Jammu by Tuesday, authorities said.

To date, 1,11,699 pilgrims have performed the Yatra in progress, authorities said.

This year, the 45-day Hindu pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave sanctuary began on July 1 and will end on August 15, coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.

After being suspended on Monday due to reasons of law and order, the yatris movement was allowed on Tuesday.

The pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas on Tuesday in two convoys escorted. Of these, 1,967 pilgrims go to Baltal base camp while 3,997 go to base camp, a police officer said.

Yatris approaches the cave sanctuary, either from the Baltal base camp using the shorter 14 km uphill walk or from the traditional Pahalgam base camp using the 42 km uphill walk.

Helicopter services are available for pilgrims in the two base camps.

Located at 3,888 meters above sea level, the sanctuary of the cave houses a structure of ice stalagmites that wax and wane with the phases of the moon.

Devotees believe that the structure of ice stalagmites symbolizes the mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

After the public demands, restrictions on the movement of civilians on the Jammu-Srinagar national road were reduced to two hours a day.

The governor has said that these curbs are important for the safety of the pilgrims.

Local Muslims have always lent a hand to their Hindu brothers so they can perform the Yatra with ease and comfort.

In fact, until the beginning of the 1980s, the Amarnath Yatra has remained mostly limited to Kashmiri Pandits and Sadhus.

The cave sanctuary was discovered by a Muslim shepherd, Buta Malik, in 1850.

Their descendants greatly benefited from the discovery, as they received a portion of the offerings in the cave sanctuary for more than 150 years.

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