Another batch of over 2,200 Amarnath pilgrims left from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Nivas in Jammu on Sunday morning for the Himalayan cave shrine in the Kashmir Valley. They include 480 women and 27 children.The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath started on July 2 and will end on August 29 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals. The yatra has been going on smoothly and the issues of security and logistics are being efficiently addressed.
The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the Moon. Devotees call the stalagmite structure the ‘Holy Lingam’ and believe it symbolizes mystical powers of Lord Shiva. The pilgrims reach the cave shrine situated 14,500 feet above the sea level through the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam and the relatively modern north Kashmir Baltal base camp routes. Helicopter services are available at Baltal and at Chandanwari (Pahalgam).Local Muslim potters and ponywallahs help by carrying the weak and infirm pilgrims on horseback or even on their shoulders all along the treacherous mountain trek that is 14-km long via Baltal and 46-km long via Pahalgam route.