Inclement weather forces Amarnath yatra suspension in Kashmir

He said the yatra from the base camps was suspended in view of the intermittent rains in wide parts of the state for the fourth successive day which rendered the tracks unsafe.
Inclement weather forces Amarnath yatra suspension in Kashmir

The Amarnath yatra from the three main base camps wassuspended Sunday due to widespread intermittent rains in Jammu and Kashmir forthe fourth successive day, with the weather department predicting snowfall inthe cave area later in the day, officials said.

They said that any decision on resumption will be takenlater in the day based on the weather condition.

However, nearly 1,000 pilgrims who had reached the caveshrine situated at an altitude of 3,880 metre in south Kashmir Himalayas wereallowed to offer prayers in the morning, they said.

"To avoid any untoward incident, no pilgrim was allowedfrom the three main base camps — Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu, Nunwan-Pahalgam inAnantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district — Sunday morning," ayatra official said.

He said the yatra from the base camps was suspended in viewof the intermittent rains in wide parts of the state for the fourth successiveday which rendered the tracks unsafe.

The helicopter service was also suspended for the day due tobad weather, the official said.

All the pilgrims who had reached various halting stationsenroute to the cave are safe, he said.

On Sunday, 990 pilgrims paid their obeisance till 10 am atthe cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, raising thefootfall so far this year to 3,18,816.

The 46-day yatra commenced from the twin routes — 36-kmtraditional Pahalgam in Anantnag district and a shorter 14-km Baltal track inGanderbal district — on July 1 and is scheduled to end on August 15,coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.

State Meteorological Department Director Sonam Lotus saidthere was no forecast of any major change in the prevailing weather conditions.

"We expect significant fall in temperature at Baltal,holy cave and Sheshnag areas during next couple of days. Holy cave area mayeven get snowfall this (Sunday) evening," he said, urging the pilgrims totake necessary precautionary measures and wear woolen clothes and raincoats tostay warm.

He said significant improvement is most likely from August 1onwards.

A total of 33 people including 29 pilgrims, two 'sevadaars'(volunteers) and two security personnel have died, mostly due to naturalcauses, since the commencement of the yatra this year.

Deaths due to cardiac arrest triggered by lack of oxygen inthe area around the cave shrine have been common over the years, prompting theShri Amarnath Shrine Board to issue regular health advisories to pilgrims.

As many as 40 pilgrims have taken ill or sustained injuriesdue to shooting stones and other causes since the commencement of thepilgrimage, the officials said.

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