Even though Shiv-lingum had melted before the commencement of Amaranth Yatra, close to three lakh devotees visited the cave shrine to pay their obeisance at the famous cave during the two-month long Yatra that started on June 30 and came to an end on Aug 28, the occasion of the Shravana Puranmashi and Raksha Bandhan.
Hundreds of devotees reciting Vedic hymns and religious slogans trekked to the cave shrine. They offered special prayers at the cave, which is situated at the height of 13,000 feet above sea level.
It concluded with Chhari Mubarak, the holy mace of Lord Shiva, led by Mahant of Dashnami Akhara, Deependra Giri reached the cave. The devotees and the sadhus offered special puja in the cave and this marked the conclusion of the two-month old Amarnath Yatra.
The Yatra passed off peacefully barring a few grenade attacks on the pilgrims at Baltal and Awantipora on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and several disruptions on account of inclement weather.
This year about 2.96 lakh pilgrims performed the Yatra this year, about 6,000 more than the last year. Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), which manages the pilgrimage, was expecting a good number of Yatris to the cave shrine this year but due to reports that Ice Lingam had completely melted well before start of the Yatra, number of the pilgrims remained average. ?Keeping in view the fact that there was no Ice Lingam, the figure of 2.96 lakh pilgrims, was significant?.
In 2006, 2.90 lakh pilgrims had darshan of Amarnath shrine. A controversy was also created last year on tempering of Ice Lingam but an Inquiry Commission had rejected the charges. However, in 2005, over 4 lakh Yatris had visited the shrine of Amarnath located in South Kashmir Himalayas. The figure of four lakh pilgrims performing darshan in 2005 remained the highest ever so far.