45-Days Hindu Pilgrimage Concludes in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Aug 13: The annual Hindu pilgrimage (Amarnath yatra) concluded in Kashmir on Saturday with a record breaking 6.35 lakh devotees from different parts of India visiting the cave shrine in South Kashmir during the past 45 days.

Officials said ‘Charri Mubarak’ (the mace of Shiva) reached the shrine from Panchtarni halting station in South Kashmir this morning after a night halt. “A special prayer was offered on the occasion to pay obeisance to ice-lingam of Shiva – coinciding with the Hindu festival Raksha Bandhan (when sisters tie threads in the wrist of their brothers) – to mark the conclusion of the annual pilgrimage, which began on June 29,” they said.

The Governor of the region, N N Vohra, who heads the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that supervises the annual Hindu pilgrimage, expressed expressing satisfaction over the smooth conduct of this year’s pilgrimage.

CEO of SASB R K Goyal said over 6.35 lakh devotees paid their obeisance at the cave shrine during this year’s pilgrimage, which commenced on June 29. The previous record for the highest number of pilgrims in one year was set in 2005 when 5.31 lakh yatris had visited the cave shrine.

He said that the Shrine Board has been according very high priority to the implementation of sanitation and related measures for the preservation of the environment at the Base Camps and at all the locations enroute the Cave Shrine.

“Despite repeated Advisories and issue of Do’s and Dont’s to the devotees, as many as 107 devotees lost their lives due to medical reasons, the prime among them being cardiac arrests and pulmonary failures,” Goyal said.

As many as 68 persons died due to medical reasons, particularly due to cardiac failure, during the annual Hindu pilgrimage in 2010. As compared to the 107 death in 2011, 45 persons lost their lives during 2009 Hindu pilgrimage.