WITH a record number of 6.36 lakh yatris forty-six days long annual pilgrimage to holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath ji, located at a height of 13,500 feet from the sea level in South Kashmir Himalayas, concluded on the occasion of Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan, the final day of annual yatra with Mahant Deependera Giri carr ying holy mace (Chhari Mubarak) of Lord Shiva, joined by devotees, performing darshan in the shrine.
A record number of 6.36 lakh yatris surpassing the previous record of 5.33 lakh yatris in 2008 had darshan of Lord Shiva’s holy Ice Lingam during about one and a half month yatra this year. The pilgrimage had started on June 29. There was heavy rush of pilgrims during first 20 days when number of the yatris having darshan daily ranged between 25,000 to 30,000. The holy Ice Lingam remained in full bloom during about a month after which it started melting. It is for the first time in the yatra’s history that such a huge number of pilgrims visited the shrine.
On July 17 a record number of 35,000 pilgrims performed darshan of Ice Shivlingam on a single day and till July 17 four lakh Yatri performed the darshan at cave shrine. The figure touched 5 lakh mark on July 21, and eight days later, 6 lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine.
However, with the rise in number of pilgrims, the yatra also witnessed number of 107 deaths this year with 68 of them breathing their last due to cardiac and pulmonary failures. Five porters and two security personnel were among those killed during the yatra period. During 2010, 68 pilgrims had died while the number was 45 in 2009.