Amarnath Yatra On Hold, Srinagar-Jammu Highway Shut Due To Landslide Risk

Over three lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine since the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrine started on July 1.

Amarnath Yatra On Hold, Srinagar-Jammu Highway Shut Due To Landslide Risk

This year's Amarnath Yatra will end on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.

New Delhi:

The Amarnath Yatra was put on hold on Sunday after the Srinagar-Jammu National highway was closed for traffic due to mudslides in the Ramban and Banihal route. The nearly 300-km long highway was closed on Saturday also after heavy rain triggered mudslides at several places along the route. Hundreds of commuters, including pilgrims, have been left stranded due to this.

"Heavy rains forced us to suspend the yatra for today. We will review it again tomorrow," a senior officer in charge of yatra told NDTV. 

Over three lakh pilgrims have visited the cave shrine since the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrine started on July 1.

The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises the mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

Pilgrims approach the shrine either from the shorter 14 km-long Baltal trek or through the longer 45-km Pahalgam trek.

Thirty three people including 29 pilgrims, two volunteers and two security personnel have died, mostly due to natural causes, since the pilgrimage began this year.

Deaths due to cardiac arrest triggered by lack of oxygen in the area around the cave shrine have been common over the years, prompting the Amarnath Shrine Board to issue regular health advisories to pilgrims.

This year's Amarnath Yatra will end on August 15, coinciding with Shravan Purnima festival.

(with inputs from PTI)

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