The 39-day annual pilgrimage of Amarnath yatra, which witnessed 6.30 lakh pilgrims trekking up to the shrine cave located at 13,000 feet high in south Kashmir this year, concluded on Thursday with a special puja.
“Despite serious constraints arising from snowfalls in the preceding winter and bad weather for several weeks before the commencement of the yatra, the state government, security forces and the people provided a strong support in the management of the yatra,” said governor NN Vohra, also chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).
Customarily, Mahant Deependra Giri, accompanied by a large number of sadhus, carried the mace, popularly known as ‘Charri Mubarak’, and offered puja at the shrine.
The mace had reached Panjtarni last night. Traditionally, the yatra, which started on June 25 this year, concludes on Shravan Purnima that coincides with Raksha Bandhan.
The pilgrimage witnessed deaths of 130 pilgrims. “While 88 pilgrims died due to medical reasons, 42 died due to accidents,” said the SASB spokesman.
The governor has directed cleaning up of all camp sites. The shrine board is launching a massive post-yatra sanitation drive, involving the Pahalgam and Sonamarg Development Authorities, so that the entire Yatra area is cleaned up in the next few days.