Amarnath Yatra suspended after heavy rains, flash floods



Srinagar: The annual Amarnath Yatra was suspended Tuesday between Panchtarni and the holy cave after heavy rains and flash floods, officials said, as the authorities asked the pilgrims evacuate the area.
The mountains around the holy cave was pounded by heavy rains this afternoon, triggering flash floods in the area, the officials said.
They said due to the rainfall, water started gushing down mountain passes at a few places, which also led to an increase in the water level in a nearby stream.
The situation prompted the authorities to issue an alert for the pilgrims to evacuate the area and all the pilgrims were safely taken to Panchtarni camp, the officials said, adding there was no loss of life or injuries or damage to property due to the rains.
The scenes were reminiscent of the July 8 flash flood triggered by heavy rains near the cave shrine resulting in the death of 15 pilgrims.
About 55 persons were also injured after the flash floods hit the yatra camp near the cave shrine and washed

away few tents and langar stalls.
Rescue operations went on for six days.
Earlier, A fresh batch of over 2,100 pilgrims on Tuesday left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to offer prayers at the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
A total of 2,189 pilgrims, the lowest till date this year, formed the 26th batch that left in a convoy of 73 vehicles amid heavy security of the Central Reserve Police Force this morning, they said.
The officials said 815 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Jammu camp in 23 vehicles, followed by the second convoy of 49 vehicles carrying 1,374 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
The number of pilgrims visiting the cave shrine has drastically fallen in past two days. The reason, however, is yet to be ascertained, officials said.
The annual 43-day yatra commenced from the twin base camps — traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal — on June 30. Over 2.30 lakh pilgrims had offered their prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, officials said.