The annual Amarnath pilgrimage to the 3,880 metres-high shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas concluded on Tuesday with over 4.56 lakh devotees paying obeisance at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva during the past two months without any major untoward incidents.
Serene religious fervour filled the ambiance as the Holy mace of Lord Shiva arrived at the 300-cubic metre cave on the
Shravan Purnima day as part of the traditional 'Charri Mubarak' ritual.
Over 4.56 lakh pilgrims, an increase of over 23 per cent than last year, visited the shrine despite ongoing spree of
violence in the Valley. A record 5.33 lakh pilgrims had visited the shrine in 2008.
There were 87 deaths among the pilgrims of which 17 died due to accidents and 60 resulting from cardiac arrest. Last
year, 62 pilgrims have died because of natural reasons.
With the end of the yatra, around 48 companies of CRPF on Amarnath Yatra security duty deployed for this period, will
return to their camps to help in maintaining law and order in the Valley, which has been witnessing violence since June 11
following the death of a teenager.
Governor N N Vohra, also the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, was scheduled to visit the Holy Cave this
morning but could not do so due to heavy rains and inclement weather conditions, official sources said.
The Governor expressed satisfaction over the smooth conduct of this year's Yatra. He complimented the state
government, army, CRPF, BSF, BSNL and other concerned organisations, for making the Yatra "a satisfying and
memorable experience for thousands of pilgrims" from across the country over the past 55 days.