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In 5 Days, more than 71,000 pilgrims perform Amarnath Yatra

The 48-day long Yatra will conclude on August 17 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals

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Amarnath Yatra. Image source: www.thetathaastu.com
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  • Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure called the ‘Lingam’ symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva
  • The south Kashmir Pahalgam route passes through Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Pissu Top and Panchtarni
  • Hindu scriptures mention, this route that Lord Shiva used to reach the cave is where he told goddess Parvati the study of immortality and eternal life

Jammu: Over 71,000 pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra so far as another batch of 1,612 pilgrims left Jammu on Thursday, July 7.

An official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the annual pilgrimage said, ” A total of 1,612 pilgrims comprising 1,266 males and 346 females left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas today (Thursday) in 35 buses and 22 light motor vehicles in a convoy escorted by security forces for the Valley.”

“Since the Yatra started on July 2, two pilgrims have so far died of natural causes.”

An ice stalagmite structure inside the cave situated at 3,888 feet above the sea level wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.

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Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure called the ‘Lingam’ symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

Pilgrims use the north Kashmir Baltal and the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camps to reach the cave Shrine.

Source: Google images
Amarnath Yatra. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

From Baltal in Ganderbal district, pilgrims have to trek 14 km to reach the cave while those using the traditional Pahalgam route have to trek 46 km.

The south Kashmir Pahalgam route passes through Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Pissu Top and Panchtarni.

According to Hindu scriptures, this route that Lord Shiva used to reach the cave is where he told goddess Parvati the study of immortality and eternal life.

Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims from Baltal and Pahalgam to and fro the shrine.

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Due to heightened militant activities in the Valley this year, extra security measures have been taken to provide protection to the pilgrims.

A three-tier security cover manned by the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force and state police are in place to secure the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which is the only surface link used by the pilgrims.

The 48-day long Yatra will conclude on August 17 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals. (IANS)

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Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government's agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

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A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
  • The government had drafted the policy after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022
  • The government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls
  • This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage

The central government on Tuesday said it has decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government’s agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters here.

He said the government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel to Haj without Mahram

The government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022.

This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased India’s quota by 5,000.

A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. IANS