Around 70,000 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, even as inclement weather prompted authorities to suspend the yatra from the shorter Baltal route on the third day on Friday.
“A total of 67,258 pilgrims offered prayers and had ‘darshan’ of the naturally formed ice-shivlingam at the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath since the commencement of the yatra on June 29,” an official said on Friday.The number of pilgrims could have crossed one lakh mark but the inclement weather forced the authorities to suspend the yatra temporarily from the 13-km Baltal route, the track preferred by most of the devotees to the traditional 46-km Pahalgam route.
They said light snowfall at the cave and incessant rains lashed the Baltal track during the night, rendering it slippery at many places.
However, the pilgrimage was going on smoothly on the Pahalgam route as more than 5,000 pilgrims set on the two day-trek.
“The yatra from Baltal route has been stopped temporarily due to inclement weather. A decision on allowing the pilgrims to proceed further will be taken only after the track is declared safe,” an official at the yatra control room said.
Earlier in the day, the fourth batch of 2,303 pilgrims left the Jammu base camp for Amarnath yatra.Meanwhile, two more pilgrims died of cardiac arrest on Friday, taking the toll to five in the ongoing yatra, officials said.
A sadhu, Shirla Nanda (48), from Karnataka suffered a massive heart attack at a guest house in Pahalgam, 100 km from Srinagar, officials said.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead, they said.
A 24-year-old pilgrim, Sonu from Ludhiana in Punjab, suffered a heart attack at Pissu top after offering prayers at the cave shrine. He died on the spot, the officials said.
Over 2.50 lakh pilgrims have registered for the annual yatra this year but the number is expected to cross four lakh by the end of the pilgrimage on 13th August as many pilgrims have not so far registered themselves.