5,000 Offer Prayers At Amarnath Shrine

16 June 2009
The Hindu

Srinagar: Over 5,000 devotees paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir to on Tuesday even as the pilgrimage remained suspended from Jammu owing to inclement weather. “As many as 5,457 pilgrims offered prayers at the shrine,” Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner and Yatra Officer Syed Iftikhar Bari told PTI. Earlier, over 11,000 devotees, chanting “Bam Bam Bole” and “Har Har Mahadev”, began their 16-km trek to the shrine from the Baltal base camp, some 100-km from here. The officer said nearly 5,500 pilgrims were, however, brought back to Baltal following torrential rains and snowing on the route. No fresh batch of pilgrims left Jammu for Baltal in the morning in view of hostile weather on the mountainous route, a Shri Amarnath Shrine Board spokesman said. The pilgrimage from Jammu would remain suspended on Wednesday also, a police spokesman in the winter capital said. The annual two-month pilgrimage commenced on Monday when the first batch of 900 devotees left Jammu amid tight security. The pilgrimage to 3,880-ft high shrine was to commence on June 7 but was put off due to heavy accumulation of snow on the Pahalgam route. Mr. Bari said 1,500 devotees were brought back to Baltal base camp from Rail Pathri as a precautionary measure and 4,000 pilgrims returned from Brari Marg after bad weather on the route. The Deputy Commissioner said over 11,000 pilgrims are camping at Baltal and if the weather permits, around 6,500 of them will be allowed to proceed on Wednesday. He asked pilgrims to be adequately equipped and prepared for the difficult conditions along the route.