Srinagar: Six persons have died in the past four days during the ongoing pilgrimage to Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, taking the death toll in this year’s pilgrimage to 22, officials said on Saturday.
“Six pilgrims died due to various causes during their pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnathji,” the officials said here.
Among the dead are 18 pilgrims, two ‘sevadars’ (volunteers) and two security force personnel deployed on duty en route the holy cave.
In addition to these, 30 others have suffered injuries due to shooting stones and other causes since the commencement of the pilgrimage on 1 July, the officials said.
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 Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to issue regular health advisories to the pilgrims.
All pilgrims are required to get a fitness certificate issued from a doctor before undertaking the pilgrimage to the shrine located at an altitude of 3,888 metres.
Nearly 2.5 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance to the naturally formed ice-lingam in the cave shrine in the 19 days of the yatra this year.
The yatra will conclude on 15 August, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
Amarnath cave is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), about 141 km (88 mi) from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir and reached through Pahalgam town. The shrine forms an important part of Hinduism. It is considered one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism.
The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains and is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave across challenging mountainous terrain.
The Amarnath temple is one of 18 Maha Shakti Peethas — highly revered temples throughout South Asia that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.