Jammu and Kashmir ready to welcome cave shrine pilgrims

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 10:27 GMT, Jun 9, 2016 |

India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state is gearing up to host thousands of pilgrims from across the world for the annual Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage).

Amarnath stands at a height of nearly 12,500 feet (3,888 metres) above sea level, 141 kilometres from the state’s capital Srinagar.

The pilgrimage leads devotees through monsoon rain-swollen streams and past a glacier-fed lake to the cave where they worship an ice stalagmite, believed to be a phallic symbol representing the regenerative powers of the Hindu lord Shiva.

Civic authorities on Wednesday (June 08) visited Lakhenpur town in Kathua district which will serve as the base camp for pilgrims.

District Development Commissioner of Kathua, Ramesh Kumar, said arrangements were being made to dole out the best facilities for the pilgrims in regard with drinking water, sanitation, electricity and lodging.

“We have made arrangements so that traffic jam does not block the way of pilgrims. Medical facilities will be provided 24 hours. Arrangements for drinking water have also been made,” said Kumar.

He added that a team of around 2000 members has been set up for emergency situations like landslide and road blocks.

The 48-day-long pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine will begin on July 02 this year.