Heavy Rainfall Halts Amarnath Yatra Temporarily For Safety Concerns

Mumbai:  The annual Amarnath Yatra has been temporarily suspended on both routes to the holy cave due to heavy rainfall, officials announced on Saturday. The precautionary measure aims to ensure the safety of pilgrims amid intermittent heavy rainfall that began on Friday night, affecting both the north Kashmir Baltal base camp route and the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp route.

The decision to halt the pilgrimage was made based on reports from the weather department, which has forecast generally cloudy weather with the possibility of light rain and thundershowers during the day. The suspension is a preventive step to avoid any mishaps during the yatra, which commenced on June 29 and is scheduled to conclude on August 19.

Pilgrims taking the Pahalgam route require four days to reach the cave shrine, while those opting for the shorter Baltal route return to the base camp on the same day after ‘darshan’ inside the cave. The Baltal base camp route involves a 14 km-long trek to the cave shrine, either on foot or on ponies. In contrast, the traditional Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp route covers 48 km over four days, passing through Pahalgam to Chandanwari (24 km), Chandanwari to Sheshnag (13 km), Sheshnag to Panchtarni (5 km), and Panchtarni to the Cave Shrine (6 km).

So far, over 1.50 lakh devotees have visited the 3,800-metre-high cave shrine and had ‘darshan’ of the naturally formed ice lingam, believed to represent the powers of Lord Shiva. Last year, over 4.5 lakh pilgrims offered prayers at the shrine.

To ensure the pilgrimage remains smooth and incident-free, extensive security arrangements have been implemented along the 300 km Jammu-Srinagar highway, the twin Yatra routes, the two base camps, and the cave shrine itself. Devotees remain hopeful for a resumption of the yatra once weather conditions improve.

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