The 40-day annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas ended Monday, with 2.60 lakh pilgrims offering darshan this year, official sources said.
This year’s figure of pilgrims visiting the shrine is the second lowest in the past 14 years. Last year, only 2.20 lakh pilgrims had visited the cave shrine, they said.
Earlier the ‘Chhari Mubarak’ carried by a group of ‘sadhus’ and devotees, arrived at the cave in the early hours, sources said.
The yatra had commenced from Pahalgam and Baltal routes amid strict security arrangements on 29 June.
This year eight pilgrims were killed while 21 others were injured in an attack on yatris on 10 July and forty other pilgrims, including 16 in a road accident on Jammu-Srinagar Highway on 16 July, died during this edition of the pilgrimage with cardiac arrest being the major cause of deaths due to medical reasons.
Chhari Mubarak’ will be taken from its abode Dashnami Akhara Srinagar to Pahalgam on Vyas Purnima falling on July 9 for special prayers.
On August 9 ‘Dvitiya Pujan’ and ‘Visarjan’ ceremonies shall be performed at 0915 hrs on the bank of river Lidder at Pahalgam. Thereafter, traditional ‘Kari-Pakouri’ Bhandara shall be organized for Sadhus. With this last ritual, annual pilgrimage of Swami Amarnath Ji shall culminate. Chhari-Mubarak shall return to its Abode Ameshwar temple Desknami Akahtar at Srinagar.