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Amarnath yatra comes to an end
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar |
August 19, 2005 20:04 IST
The 2 month long Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir came to an end on Friday afternoon.
This year's annual yatra remained free of any militant attacks.
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During the 2 month long annual yatra, 58 of the nearly 400,000 pilgrims who visited the cave died of natural causes, most of them due to cardiac arrest.
A stream of devotees chanting hymns, accompanying the `Charri Mubarik' led by Mahant Deepinder Giri, reached the holy cave shrine early on Friday morning through the traditional route of Pahalgam.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha, who is also chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, participated in the concluding prayers.
Expressing satisfaction on the smooth and peaceful conduct of the yatra, the governor complimented the people of the valley, the state administration, security forces and the shrine board for their valuable contribution in making the yatra a success.
According to SASB, for the first time, a record number of 10,000 pilgrims used the helicopter facility from north Kashmir Baltel this year.
Gen Sinha referred to the measures taken for the upkeep of the camping sites with special emphasis on preserving the ecology.
"Prefabricated shelter sheds had been raised to accommodate pilgrims at various sites with 1400 scientifically designed prefabricated toilets and baths. Next year, we hope to further improve these facilities," he added.
The governor announced that a cleaning operation of the camp-sites would be undertaken immediately and indicated that he would be personally monitoring this drive that would be undertaken by volunteers, non-governmental organisations and labourers deployed by the board.
Interestingly, the ice Lingam inside the Amarnath cave, which according to the Hindu mythology signifies Lord Shiva's mystic powers, melted rapidly because of the heat radiating from the bodies of the visiting pilgrims this year.