Amarnath Yatra ends peacefully

August 13th, 2011 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Amarnath Shrine Srinagar, Aug 13 (IANS) The month-and-half-long annual Amarnath pilgrimage concluded Saturday on Shravan Purnima amid chanting of religious hymns inside the Himalayan cave shrine in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

More than 6.35 lakh people paid obeisance at the holy cave shrine during this year’s pilgrimage, which commenced on June 29 simultaneously from the Baltal and Pahalgam base camps.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), joined the special pooja at the cave shrine and prayed for lasting peace, harmony, progress and prosperity in the state.

The arrival of Lord Shiva’s mace, known as the ‘Chharri Mubarak’, at the cave on the Hindu festival of Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan marks the end of this pilgrimage. The cave is located at 14,500 feet above sea-level.

Vohra expressed satisfaction over the smooth conduct of this year’s Yatra, over the past 45 days, and complimented all the departments of the state government concerned, the army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF), state police and all other organisations.

Governor Vohra’s wife, Usha, and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the SASB, R.K. Goyal, also paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum today.

The governor has ordered immediate cleanliness drive at the base camps and the pilgrimage routes to protect the delicate ecology of the Himalayan region.

The governor has asked the SASB management to ensure the disposal of all garbage by Aug 20, so that the area is free of all solid waste well before the onset of ensuing winter season.

Goyal said that like last year, all the registered pilgrims were provided free accident insurance cover of Rs. one lakh each.

He said this insurance was also provided, with support from the state government, to all the 20,000 registered labourers deployed during the pilgrimage period and 7,000 owners of horses or ponies.

Though there was no natural disaster during this year pilgrimage, 107 people lost their lives, mostly to cardiac arrest and pulmonary failure.

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