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UP priest walks over 700 kms to reach Amarnath cave

UP priest walks over 700 kms to reach Amarnath cave
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Pulwama: A priest from Uttar Pradesh walked over 700 kilometres to pay obeisance at the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

Rahul Sharma, a resident of Badhoo village in Saharanpur district, said he will visit Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on his way back home.

He started his journey on May 30 and reached the cave shrine on July 11.

Sharma said he also paid obeisance at the revered Mata Vaishnodevi shrine in Jammu region before embarking on the arduous trek to the cave shrine via the Pahalgam route of the yatra.

“I first went to Mata Vaishnodevi and from there to Amaranth cave shrine. I started the yatra from the Pahalgam side,” Sharma, while walking and carrying the tricolour, told PTI here.

It takes two days to reach the cave shrine via the route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Sharma, however, took the Baltal axis, in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, to come back from the cave shrine.

He has now set out to walk to the other Lord Shiva temple — Kedarnath – in Uttarakhand.

“It was my wish to walk carrying the national flag. I wanted to see that people say the situation in Kashmir is bad, but I did not feel anything like that. The situation is good,” Sharma said.

He said he found the locals very supportive.

“The locals of Kashmir lent a huge support. J-K Police also supported me, escorted me, along with CRPF,” he added.

Meanwhile, a fresh batch of 6,225 pilgrims left the base camp here on Tuesday for the Amarnath shrine.

The pilgrims left in a convoy of 217 vehicles amid tight security. While 3,714 pilgrims, headed for Pahalgam, left in a convoy of 131 vehicles for the valley, another convoy of 86 vehicles carrying 2,511 pilgrims left for the Baltal base camp.

With this, a total of 99,738 pilgrims have left the Jammu base camp for the valley since June 30 when the first batch of devotees began the yatra.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the 3,888-metre-high cave shrine commenced from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on July 1.

Over 2.30 lakh devotees have paid obeisance so far. The yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 31.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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