‘Go before 5 Aug’, LG Sinha urges Amarnath pilgrims citing inclement weather

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Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Tuesday urged the pilgrims intending to undertake the journey of Amarnath Yatra to perform the darshan of Shiv Lignum before 5 August in the wake of inclement weather advisory issued by the Meteorological department (MeT).

Talking to reporters after participating in the Chari Mubarakh Pooja at Akhara building at Lal Chowk, Srinagar, the LG, as per a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said that MeT department has predicted more inclement weather in and around cave shrine of Lord Shiva and other parts of Kashmir after 5 August.

“Given the erratic weather advisory, I would like to urge all the intending pilgrims of Lord Shiva to plan their visit to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath before August 5. Weather may turn more inclement after August 5 as suggested by the MeT department,” the LG said.

He said that so far three lakh pilgrims from across the country have had the glimpse of Shiv Lingum of Lord Shiva.

“Pilgrims can go up to August 11 but given the weather advisory, I appeal to all the intending pilgrims to come for performing the darshan before August 5,” the LG said.

He said that there has been heavy rainfall over the past many days in and around the cave shrine. “The holy shiv lignum is also not in its original position due to the heat wave,” he said.

Pertinently, this year, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) was expecting a record number of pilgrims given the huge tourist arrivals.

However, post cloudburst at the cave shrine area on 28 July that left 15 pilgrims dead and 35 missing, dampened the spirit and the number of pilgrims started falling slowly. Even though the bodies of all 15 dead were retrieved and those missing traced, the pace of pilgrims started fading away.

A SASB official told KNO that weather played a big spoilsport in this year’s Yatra. “After the cloudburst on July 28, the number of Amarnath Yatris started falling gradually. High temperature especially the heat wave followed by incessant rains resulted in the untimely melting of Shiv Lingum,” said an SASB official, wishing not to be named, adding that till 11 August, a maximum of 50,000 pilgrims are expected to perform the darshan that too, if weather remains fair which seems bleak given the erratic weather advisory.

The J-K government has already invited surveyor of India for a thorough survey of areas in and around cave shrine of Amarnath and also to find out possible impact of 28 July cloudburst on the nearby streams and ponds.

The experts will also suggest ways and means of protecting human losses due to cloud bursts, flash floods, and other natural calamities at the cave shrine. (KNO)

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