Amarnath pilgrims battle rain, snowfall

Madan Mantoo, spokesman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), said 4,500 pilgrims left for the holy Amarnath cave on Wednesday morning. “So far 7,592 pilgrims have performed yatra, which started on Tuesday,” he said.

The pilgrimage was going on amid snowfall and heavy rains. The upper reaches of Kashmir experienced light fresh snowfall on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rains and snow further brought down the mercury level forcing the people to use woolen cloths. In some rural areas the people are even using the traditional “phirans” (long loose Kashmiri gown) and “kangris” (fire pots). Phirans and kangris are particularly used in winter.

Mantoo added that there are 6,000 pilgrims at Baltal base camp right now. “Among them, some have already performed the pilgrimage and the rest are waiting for their turn,” he said. Asked whether there are any chances of suspending the pilgrimage on Thursday due to rough weather, he said, “No such decision has been taken yet. The decision is expected after reviewing the weather related situation on Thursday morning,” he said.

Meanwhile, the pilgrimage remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Wednesday from Jammu due to rough weather. No vehicle, carrying pilgrims, was allowed to move from Jammu to Srinagar on its way to Baltal base camp.
Police stopped around 500 vehicles, carrying pilgrims, at Udhampur near Jammu. They were forced to return to Jammu.

It may be recalled here that the pilgrimage is yet to begin from the traditional Pahalgam route. The yatra route in Pahalgam is covered with snow. Authorities said a decision when to start the pilgrimage would be taken on June 22.

Pilgrim, porter die

One porter was killed and another injured in a landslide on the Amarnath pilgrimage route in Jammu and Kashmir, while the body of an unidentified pilgrim was recovered near the Manigam transit camp, police said on Wednesday.

Police said the landslide that killed a porter occurred at Railpathri, 5 km ahead of the Baltal base camp, on Wednesday, reports PTI from Srinagar. “The landslide killed one local porter while another was injured at Railpathri on the Baltal-cave shrine track. We have also recovered an unidentified body of a pilgrim at Manigam transit camp on the Srinagar-Baltal road,” a police officer said.

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