Amarnath Yatra suspended for 2nd day, thousands stranded

Incessant rains and landslides forced the suspensio of the Yatra on the second consecutive day

The Amarnath Yatra was suspended due to continuous rains and landslides in J&K (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
The Amarnath Yatra was suspended due to continuous rains and landslides in J&K (Photo courtesy: Twitter)


The Amarnath Yatra was suspended for the second consecutive day on Saturday following incessant rains and landslides, leaving thousands of pilgrims stranded in Jammu and at various places en route to the cave shrine.

Heavy rains have lashed large parts of Jammu and Kashmir since Thursday night while several high-altitude areas, including Mahaguns Top and adjoining areas near the Amarnath cave shrine, experienced snowfall. Some places witnessed record rainfall over a 24-hour period for July.

"The Yatra remains suspended from both the Pahalgam and the Baltal routes for the second day due to the inclement weather," an official said.

"No fresh batch of yatris were allowed (to leave) from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp this morning in view of the suspension of the Yatra in the Valley and the inclement weather," a police official told PTI.

The meteorological department has predicted widespread light to moderate rains, accompanied by thundershowers, under the influence of monsoon winds and western disturbances across Jammu and Kashmir till Sunday.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the shrine, situated at an altitude of 3,888 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas, commenced from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on July 1. The Yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 31.

Over 80,000 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the holy cave shrine so far.

Pilgrims unfazed by delay

The pilgrims were stranded in Jammu and at various places including Chanderkote along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, which was closed for traffic following multiple landslides and the washing away of a portion of the road near Panthiyal tunnel.

But the inclement weather has not dampened the spirits of devotees.

"I was supposed to leave for the Valley to join the yatra today (Saturday) but the closure of the highway and the weather did not allow further journey," Deepu, a resident of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh told PTI at Bhagwati Nagar base camp.

Deepu, who was accompanied by several friends, said they will wait for the weather to clear and will complete their Yatra. "We are here on the call of 'Baba Barfani' and are not going back unless we perform darshan," he said.

Manisha, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, said she had come with a lot of hopes and prayers and will wait till the next week before thinking of returning home.

The devotees were also stopped at the Baltal and the Nunwan base camps. A landslide occurred on the Baltal route of the Yatra track following heavy rain in the area. However, there were no reports of any loss of life.

The Yatra will resume once the weather improves, the officials said.

Suraj Sharma, a resident of Ghaziabad (UP), said he is satisfied with the arrangements made by the local administration for the pilgrims at the base camp. "We have left for the Yatra and we are going to complete it even if it means waiting for a month," he said,

On Friday, a batch of 4,600 pilgrims was stopped at Chanderkote along the national highway in Ramban district to avoid crowding at the Pahalgam base camp after the Yatra's temporary suspension.

Shyam Sahu, a resident of Maharashtra who is among over 6000 devotees at Chanderkote, said he had been planning for the Yatra for the past couple of years.

"We have been stopped here since Friday afternoon and will wait for the clearance to proceed ahead. We are not facing any problem as the government has made all arrangements for our boarding, loading and security," Sahu said.

(Story edited by NH desk for length)

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