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Rains disrupt Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Jul 27: The Amarnath Yatra was disrupted by intermittent rains on Saturday as only 3,124 pilgrims visited the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, while the death toll in the ongoing pilgrimage reached 33, officials said.

The Yatra, however, resumed from Jammu after a day-long suspension with a fresh batch of 3,926 pilgrims, including 785 women and 240 Sadhus, leaving the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for Kashmir, they said.

The pilgrims had reached safely to the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in the evening, the officials said.

“On the 27th day of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, 3,142 Yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave on Saturday. Till date 3,17,726 Yatris had the darshan of the naturally formed Shivlingam at the shrine,” an official spokesman said.

This was the lowest number of pilgrims offering their prayers at the shrine since the commencement of the Yatra from the twin routes — 36-km traditional Pahalgam in Anantnag district and shorter 14-km Baltal track in Ganderbal district — on July 1.

The officials said intermittent rains during the day left the tracks slippery, forcing suspension of the Yatra from Baltal route for the second day on Saturday, while a limited number of pilgrims were allowed along Pahalgam route to avoid any untoward incident.

They said all the pilgrims putting up at different halting stations and base camps were safe.

Three pilgrims have died in the last two days due to high altitude sickness, taking the number of pilgrims who died during the Yatra to 33. The dead included 29 pilgrims, two ‘sevadaars’ (volunteers) and two security personnel deployed enroute the Yatra trek.

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

Forty pilgrims have taken ill or sustained injuries due to shooting stones and other causes since the commencement of the pilgrimage, the officials said.

The number of pilgrims who have paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas this year has already crossed the three-lakh mark.

Till Friday, 3,14,584 pilgrims have visited the shrine. Last year, 2.85 lakh pilgrims had visited the shrine.

The 46-day Yatra is scheduled to end on August 15, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.

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