Amarnath pilgrimage halted, Pahalgam route snowedJune 22nd, 2009 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS
Jammu, June 22 (IANS) The ongoing Amarnath pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave temple in the Kashmir Valley was halted for a day Monday from here due to heavy rush of pilgrims on north Kashmir Baltal route.
There was a heavy rush of pilgrims at Baltal, the only route opened for the Hindu shrine as suspense continued over the opening of the south Kashmir Pahalgam route.
There are two routes to the shrine - a traditional one involving a 46-km trek from the tourist resort of Pahalgam, and a shorter route via Baltal.
The pilgrimage from the Pahalgam route is unlikely to start anytime soon because of “heavy snow on the track”, an official said.
An official spokesman said that pilgrims would not be allowed to proceed toward the valley from Jammu Tuesday because the heavy rush of pilgrims, inclement weather and limited accommodation had resulted in problems at the Baltal base camp.
“It is in the interest of pilgrims… that would save them of many difficulties,” the spokesman.
A spokesman of the temple board said the south Kashmir Pahalgam-Chandanwari route continued to be buried under thick snow and cut off at many places.
“At least till June 25 there is no chance of the pilgrimage starting from the Pahalgam route,” the board spokesman said.
Until Monday, over 30,000 pilgrims had visited the cave shrine devoted to Hindu god Shiva. The attraction at the shrine is an ice stalagmite, reverentially called ‘Shivlingam’, an icon of Shiva.
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