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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Uttarakhand flood, Kishtwar bring down Amarnath pilgrims by half

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, August 20, 2013
First Published: 21:34 IST(20/8/2013) | Last Updated: 22:47 IST(20/8/2013)

The number of pilgrims who undertook the Amarnath Yatra this year has dropped to about half, at 353,000 till August 18, compared to last year.

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Uncertain weather and political situation in the Valley seem to have affected the 55-day yatra that ends on August 21.

“There can be numerous reasons such as the Uttarakhand floods, which has even affected the numbers in the Vaishno Devi shrine. It impacted overall tourism, not only in Kashmir, but Himachal, as well,” said Amarnath Shrine Board CEO, Naveen Chaudhary, on Monday.

Clashes in Kishtwar and Srinagar are other factors that affected the pilgrimage.

The shrine board, however, is satisfied that the yatra ended without any problems. “Our only concern was that the yatra should be conducted safely and we have achieved that,” Chaudhary said.

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