Heavy rain disrupts Amarnath pilgrims' movement

 The movement of pilgrims from north Kashmir's Baltal base camp towards the Amarnath cave shrine was stopped Monday due to heavy rains along the way, even though the traditional puja was performed inside the shrine.

"More than 10,000 Yatris (pilgrims) have been stopped at Dumail, three kilometers ahead of Baltal base camp, as it is raining heavily along the 14-km long trek from the base camp to the Holy Cave", a senior paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer told IANS on the phone from Baltal.
He, however, confirmed that around 60 pilgrims had reached the holy cave Monday morning using helicopter services, which are available for the pilgrims in Baltal.

Nearly 2,500 pilgrims were allowed to move towards the cave shrine from south Kashmir's Pahalgam base camp Monday morning.

Pilgrims using the Pahalgam trek take four days to reach the Cave, while those using the Baltal route return back the same day after the 'Darshan' (obeisance) inside the cave.

The 13,000 feet high Himalayan cave houses an ice stalagmite structure believed by the devotees to symbolize the powers of Lord Shiva.

State governor, N.N. Vohra who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) performed the traditional Puja inside the cave Monday morning. Vohra has been personally supervising the smooth conduct of the Yatra.

Unusual wet weather this year has posed serious problems for the authorities as heavy accumulation of snow and slippery conditions along the twin treks have impeded efforts of trek clearance.

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