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Yatra suspended on first day, first batch leaves
for Amarnath via Baltal on Tuesday

     Sonamarg (Jammu and Kashmir): The first batch of pilgrims left for the holy cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva situated at an altitude of 3880 metres above sea level in Amarnath on Tuesday. The pilgrimage was earlier scheduled to commence on Monday, but was postponed by a day due to inclement weather. "We are going to seek the blessings of Baba Barfani (Lord Shiva). We hope that God will solve all our problems and fulfill all our wishes," said Poonam, a pilgrim More than 10,000 pilgrims who had reached the Baltal base camp in Ganderbal district on Monday, started their 14 kilometres ascent on Tuesday morning. Set up deep in the Himalayas, the cave houses an ice formation in the shape of Lingam, symbolising Lord Shiva. "We will pray for peace in India. We will also pray to give wisdom to those who are trying to divide our nation. We also pray that God will give peace to all of us," said Anil Sharma, another pilgrim. Last year, over 450,000 pilgrims visited the cave. The two month long pilgrimage will conclude on August 5.
-June 16, 2009


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