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Over a lakh pilgrims perform Amarnath Yatra in 8 days

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Jammu: Over one lakh pilgrims have performed this year’s Amarnath Yatra so far as another batch of 2,199 pilgrims left from here for the Kashmir Valley on Friday.

“Another batch of 2,199 yatris left from the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in an escorted convoy of 74 vehicles for the valley,” a police official said here.

“The convoy left at 4.05 a.m. today (Friday),” the official said.

Since the 40-day-long Amarnath Yatra began on June 29, over a lakh pilgrims have had ‘Darshan’ inside the cave shrine in Kahsmir’s Himalayas.

Situated at more than 3,888 metres above the sea-level, the cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that the devotees believe symbolises the mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

The ice stalagmite structure, called the holy ‘Lingam’, waxes and wanes with the size of the visible moon.

This year unprecedented security arrangements have been made for the yatra given the threat perception from the militants.

The most appreciable aspect of the ongoing yatra has, however, been the helping hand lent by the local Muslims to the pilgrims.

The local Muslims run taxis for the pilgrims, tea-stalls, roadside kiosks selling refreshments, providing tents at the two base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam and, most essentially, carrying the pilgrims on ponies and sometimes on their back along the treacherous mountain track.

So far, 10 pilgrims have died during the yatra. One was killed in a gas cylinder explosion inside a bus on Thursday while nine others died of natural causes.

IANS

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