SRINAGAR: The 62-day annual Amarnath Yatra concluded on Thursday with more than 4.4 lakh pilgrims offering prayers at the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas this year.
Officials said a total of 4,45,338 devotees paid obeisance to the naturally formed ice ‘Shivling’ during the pilgrimage which commenced on July 1 through Baltal and Pahalgam routes.
They said 48 people, including pilgrims and service providers, died during the course of the yatra this year and 62 suffered injuries. The deaths were due to weather-related incidents or natural causes, they added.
The number of pilgrims who undertook the yatra this year was higher than last year’s 3.65 lakh.
The yatra this year remained peaceful and incident-free, the officials said.
The holy mace of Lord Shiva, popularly known as ‘Chhari Mubarak’, carried by a group of sadhus and devotees led by its custodian Mahant Deepindra Giri, arrived at the holy cave in the early hours of Thursday for day-long prayers, they said.
The group of sadhus and devotees trekked 42 kilometres from Pahalgam to reach the cave shrine with night halts at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarani.