Amarnath Yatra remains suspended for fourth consecutive day from Jammu

Despite the suspension of the yatra, the pilgrims remain undeterred about visiting the Amarnath cave shrine, even if it means waiting for days

Updated - July 11, 2023 10:42 am IST

Published - July 11, 2023 10:26 am IST - Jammu

Pilgrims wait in queues to get themselves registered for the Amarnath Yatra 2023, in Jammu, Sunday, July 9, 2023.

Pilgrims wait in queues to get themselves registered for the Amarnath Yatra 2023, in Jammu, Sunday, July 9, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Amarnath Yatra was suspended for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday due to a closure of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway owing to the extensive damage caused to its Ramban section, leaving 15,000 pilgrims stranded in Jammu and at other places.

Authorities said incessant rains have caused unprecedented damage to the highway, especially the stretch falling in Ramban district, forcing its closure for traffic on Monday, July 10.

Despite the suspension of the yatra, the pilgrims remain undeterred and optimistic about visiting the Amarnath cave shrine, even if it means waiting for days.

"The yatra has not yet resumed from Jammu. It is still suspended due to a closure of the highway. No fresh batch was allowed to move towards Kashmir from the Jammu base camp on Tuesday," a senior officer told PTI.

Traffic authorities issued an advisory on Monday night, saying the collective efforts of the administration and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) throughout the day resulted in a substantial improvement in the road condition.

However, complete restoration is expected to take some more time. Accordingly, it has been decided by the administration to keep the traffic on the highway suspended for Tuesday, July 11, it added.

As the yatra is suspended, around 8,000 pilgrims are stranded in Jammu, particularly at the Bhagwatinagar base camp, officials said.

Similarly, around 6,000 pilgrims are stranded at the Chanderkot base camp in Ramban district. Nearly 2,000 pilgrims are stranded at the Kathua and Samba camps.

More pilgrims continue to arrive in Jammu for their onward journey to Amanarth, the officials said. "The number is going up. But most of them are being accommodated in various lodging centres," one of them said.

Also Read: Amarnath yatra: a soul-stirring spiritual sojourn

Divisional Commissioner Mr. Ramesh Kumar and the Deputy Commissioners monitoring the situation said all possible steps are being taken to ensure that the stranded pilgrims do not face any problem.

Mr. Kumar said the yatra will resume from Jammu once the highway is repaired fully.

However, the annual pilgrimage, which was suspended from the Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in Kashmir due to heavy rain and inclement weather conditions, resumed on Sunday, July 9.

The 250-km Jammu-Srinagar highway is the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country. Portions of the highway were washed away in floods triggered by the heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Ramban district administration officials said efforts are on to restore traffic on the highway.

Around 5,000 vehicles are stranded on the stretch from Ramban to Lakhanpur.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine located at an altitude of 3,888 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas began on July 1.

Since June 30, a total of 43,833 pilgrims have departed for the cave shrine from the Jammu base camp in seven batches. The pilgrimage is scheduled to conclude on August 31.

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