Srinagar, July 29: Despite inclement weather along the twin routes to the Amarnath cave shrine, more than 7,000 pilgrims had ‘darshan’ on the 28th day of the Yatra as another batch of 2,050 pilgrims left Jammu for the Valley on Saturday.
Officials said since this year’s Amarnath Yatra started on July 1, more than 3.77 lakh people have performed the pilgrimage so far.
“Another batch of 2,050 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu for the Valley in an escorted convoy on Saturday.”
“Of these, 1,618 are male, 357 are female, 12 children, 54 Sadhus and 9 Sadhvis,” officials added.
Since it started this year, till now 36 pilgrims have died during the Yatra.
Pilgrims approach the Himalayan cave shrine either from the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam route, which involves an uphill trek of 43 km from Pahalgam base camp or from the Baltal base camp, which involves 14 km uphill trek.
Those using the traditional Pahalgam route take three to four days to reach the cave shrine while those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after having ‘darshan’ inside the cave shrine situated 3,888 metre above the sea-level.
Helicopter services are also available for Yatris on both routes.
The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that devotees believe symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The ice stalagmite structure wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.
This year’s 62-day long Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end on August 31 on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
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To protect the pilgrims from high altitude sickness, authorities have banned all junk food at the free community kitchens called the ‘Langars’ have been set up along both the routes of the Yatra.
The banned items include all bottled drinks, Halwai items, fried foods and tobacco-based products.