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40,000 pilgrims perform Amarnath Yatra in three days: Officials

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Jammu, July 5 (IANS) Since its beginning on July 2, 40,000 pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra as another batch of 1,924 pilgrims left Jammu for the Valley on Tuesday.

An official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) told IANS, "40,000 Yatris have performed the Amarnath Yatra during the last three days."

"Escorted by security forces, 1,924 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 5.15 a.m. in 53 vehicles," a senior police officer said.

In its daily weather bulletin for the Yatra, the MET office has forecast light rain/thundershowers in the afternoon — both on the Baltal-Cave Shrine and Pahalgam-Cave Shrine sectors.

Weather is expected to remain partly cloudy on Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Tuesday.

The highway is the only surface link for the pilgrims to reach the Cave Shrine in Kashmir Himalayas situated at 3,888 metres above the sea level.

The Cave Shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. Called the ‘Holy Lingam,’ the devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure symbolises mythical powers of lord Shiva.

Yatris trek up the 14-Kilometre long route from the north Kashmir Baltal base camp to reach the Cave Shrine.

The distance from the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp to the Shrine is 46 kilometres.

The halting points from Pahalgam to the Cave Shrine include Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Pissu Top and Panchtarni.

A three-tier security cover manned by the army, the ITBP, the CRPF and the state police has been put in place to provide security to the pilgrims.

Extraordinary security arrangements have been made for this year’s Yatra because of guerrilla attacks on the security forces in the Valley, especially on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

The Yatra will conclude on August 17 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.

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