Amarnath pilgrim dies of cardiac arrest, toll at 19

Srinagar: A 44-year-old pilgrim from Maharashtra today died near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir, taking the death toll in the ongoing yatra to 19, officials said.

Govind Baburao Poraty, a resident of Nagpur, died at lower cave hospital due to cardiac arrest, the officials said.

They said the body of the deceased was brought back to Baltal base camp and handed over to his family for last rites.

The death toll in this year’s yatra now stands at 19, which includes seven pilgrims killed in the Anantnag terrorist attack on Monday night.

The 40-day Amarnath yatra started on June 29 from the twin routes of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district and is scheduled to culminate on August 7, coinciding with the Hindu festival of ‘Raksha Bandhan’.

Meanwhile, over 9,000 pilgrims paid obeisance today at the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-lingam considered by devotees as a symbol of Lord Shiva,

“Today, on the 15th day of the yatra, 9,197 yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave and, cumulatively, since the beginning of the pilgrimage, 1,77,134 yatris had ‘darshan’ at the shrine,” an official spokesman said.