Jammu: Undeterred by the terror attack on a bus carrying pilgrims, the thirteenth batch comprising 3,791 pilgrims left Jammu for the twin base camps of the 3,880-metre high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas this morning.
Escorted by the CRPF and police, the batch consisting of 3,023 males, 721 females plus 47 sadhus and sadhvis, left in a convoy of 150 vehicles for Baltal and Pahalgam base-camps this morning, officials said. Despite the terror attack on a bus on Monday, in which seven pilgrims were killed and 32 injured, the yatris vowed to undertake the journey to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva at the shrine.
Their enthusiasm evident in the loud chants of 'Bam Bam Bhole'. "We donot fear. We will face all challenges whatever they may be to pay obeisance at Amarnath. We will better die enroute the cave shrine than return to our homes without performing the yatra", Satish Chander, a pilgrim from Andhra Pradesh, said.
Like him other pilgrims also vowed to return only after performing the yatra. Since the beginning of the pilgrimage this year, 1,56,618 yatris have had the 'darshan' at the cave shrine. The yatra from Jammu was suspended due to law and order situation in the Kashmir valley on 8 July but resumed on 9 July.
A total of 39,025 pilgrims have left Jammu for Amarnath in 12 batches since the yatra began from Jammu on 28 June. The annual yatra began this year amid a terror threat, with intelligence reports warning of probable attack which prompted the authorities to mobilise the "highest level" of security, including satellite tracking system.
This year, the yatra will be eight days shorter as compared to 48 days that it took last year and would conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on 7 August.
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of the Lidder valley, the Amarnath shrine stands at 3,888 metres, 46 km from Pahalgam and 14 kilometres from Baltal.
Updated Date: Jul 14, 2017 07:19 AM