Yatra resumes after day-long halt

Srinagar: Amarnath yatra today resumed from the base camps after a day-long suspension due to inclement weather in South Kashmir Himalayas.

Over 16,500 pilgrims left the twin base camps of Nunwan and Baltal this morning to pay obeisance at the 3,880 metre high cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas, marking the resumption of the yatra, officials said.

While 8,981 pilgrims were allowed to move towards the cave shrine from Nunwan base camp along the 45-km traditional Pahalgam cave route in Anantnag district, as many as 7,862 pilgrims proceeded from the Baltal base camp along the shorter 16-km route in Ganderbal district, they said.

The 59-day yatra, which commenced on July 2, was suspended from both the routes yesterday as a precautionary measure after heavy rains rendered the tracks unsafe.

However, with improvement in the weather as the day progressed, the pilgrims were allowed to move from the halting stations enroute but none was allowed from the base camps.

While 10,378 yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave despite disruption due to rains yesterday, so far 9,182 pilgrims visited the cave shrine and offered their prayers till 1300 hours today, the officials said, adding the yatra was going on smoothly from both the sides.

Till date, around 1.41 lakh pilgrims have offered their prayers at the cave shrine housing the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam, the officials said.

63-year-old Shrikant Mandla, a resident of West Bengal, had suffered a massive heart attack while coming out from the cave after having ‘darshan’ last evening.

Mandla died despite efforts by the doctors and para-medical staff to revive him, the officials said, adding his death raised the number of pilgrims who met their fate during the ongoing yatra to seven. (PTI)