Amarnath Yatra 2024: 28,534 perform ‘darshan’ in first two days

The Amarnath Yatra period began on June 29 and will end on August 19,

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Devotees returning from the annual Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) have been thrilled to see the fully formed ice stalagmite inside the Himalayan cave shrine.

Hindus believe the structure, called the Lingam, represents the mythical powers of Lord Shiva, one of the Holy Trinity of gods.

The Amarnath Yatra 2024 period began on June 29 and will end on August 19, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan and Shravan Purnima, making it a 52-day long pilgrimage period.

28,534 devotees have undertaken the pilgrimage in the first two days alone this year, while 350,000 pilgrims have registered to make the icy trek.

Amarnath Yatra
Pilgrims making their way towards Amarnath | Source: X

The shrine is situated 3,888 metres above sea level and houses an ice stalagmite that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.

Yatris (pilgrims) take either the 48 km-long traditional Pahalgam route, or the shorter 14 km-long Baltal route to reach the cave-shrine.

Those taking the Pahalgam route take four days to reach, while those taking the Baltal route return the same day after Darshan (viewing).

Extensive arrangements for security have been made this year all along the twin Yatra routes at the two base camps and the cave shrine to ensure a smooth and incident-free Yatra.

Resting areas along the route have been provided aplenty.

Over 124 Langars (community kitchens) have been set up along both routes as well as at the transit camps and at the cave shrine.

Over 7,000 Sevadars (volunteers) are serving the pilgrims during this year’s Yatra.

To manage the rush of the Yatris (pilgrims), Indian Railways have decided to add additional trains from July 3.

Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims on both routes.

Locals in large numbers are helping the Yatris perform the holy pilgrimage with better convenience.

Amarnath Yatra
BSF soldiers treating pilgrims | Source: X

Overseeing the preparations for this annual spiritual event is the Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB).

He posted on his official X handle on the first day of Amarnath Yatra 2024, “Today performed the ‘Pratham Puja’ to mark the ceremonial commencement of the Annual Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. Sought Baba Amarnathji’s blessings and prayed for the good health, progress, and well-being of all the people.”

His office takes stock annually of logistics, food and lodging for the pilgrims, security, langar stalls, power and water supply, health facilities, sanitation, transportation, deployment of health and sanitation staff, and emergency services and other facilities for the smooth facilitation of pilgrims.

Perhaps the most significant responsibility is the overall security scenario in the region, synergising the security forces, civil and police administration in this region that is in such close proximity to the international border.

Yet the Lt Governor stressed that the event has always been a symbol of communal harmony as local Muslims help and assist the Yatris to reach the cave shrine.

“It has been ancient tradition of J&K that people from all communities participate in this Yatra irrespective of their religion,‘ Mr Sinha said.  “I urge all enlightened citizens to come together to welcome and serve the pilgrims coming from different parts of the country and abroad.”

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