Jammu, Jul 11 (PTI) Despite recent terror attacks in the Jammu region, thousands of devotees from across the country have been thronging daily the Amarnath Yatra base camp here chanting slogans like 'Bam Bam Bhole' and 'Har Har Mahadev'.

From the Jammu base camp, they start their onward journey to the cave shrine situated at a height of 3,880 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

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Expressing grief over the terror attacks on the Army personnel and pilgrims in the region, the Amarnath yatris said they have no fear as they have full faith in Lord Shiva. They added that it would be a great privilege for them if they die on the way to Amarnath.

The 52-day annual pilgrimage started on June 29 from the twin routes: the traditional 48-km route from Nunwan in Pahalgam in south Kashmir's Anantnag and the 14-km shorter but steeper Baltal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.

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Over 2.50 lakh pilgrims have so far paid obeisance at the cave shrine, with the yatra scheduled to end on August 19, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.

For the past one week, pilgrims numbering between 4,600 and 6,500 are leaving Jammu every day for twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam in the Kashmir valley.

"There is no such thing as fear or terror, as we are on our way to Amarnath to pay obeisance at the cave shrine. Bholenath is with us. We do not fear anything or anyone. We have reached Jammu today and will leave from here tomorrow," Indore resident Santosh Das told PTI.

Sixty-two-year-old Das, who first came on the pilgrimage in 1998 when terrorism was at its peak, said that terrorists from Pakistan cannot intimidate the pilgrims as they do not fear for their lives once the pilgrimage has begun for the abode of Bholenath.

"We condemn the terror attack. We have full faith in our troops, who will soon avenge the martyrdom of the jawans. Our hearts go out to the families of the martyrs. We pay homage to them," he said.

Like him, Aarti Singh, who is a part of a 60-member group from Ranchi, said that had they been terrorized, they would not have come to take part in the Amarnath Yatra.

"The number of yatris would have decreased had there been fear or terror. That is not happening. Terrorists can't stop this yatra by engineering attacks," she said.

Singh, whose brother and uncle are in the armed forces, said, "We are proud of our forces, who laid down their lives to protect us and the country. Pakistan and its terrorist forces cannot derail peace in Jammu and Kashmir. We do not fear them."

Chanting "Bam Bam Bhole", "Har Har Mahadev", and "Bholenath Ki Jai," a group of 43 enthusiastic pilgrims from Haridwar entered the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for their onward journey to the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal on Thursday.

"Come what may, militants cannot terrorize us and derail peace and development. They cannot take on the Army, so they engineer cowardly attacks. They will soon be killed by our forces, and their designs will be defeated," Gurvinder Sharma of Haridwar said.

Over 2,700 pilgrims have arrived in Jammu from various parts of the country for their journey to Kashmir to pay obeisance at the cave shrine. Over 2,100 tokens have been issued at the registration counters, token centers, which saw a heavy rush of pilgrims in Jammu.

The shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure called the "lingam" that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe that the "lingam" symbolizes the mythical powers of Shiva.

Over the past month, terrorists targeted four locations in Kathua, Doda, Reasi, and Udhampur districts, resulting in the deaths of 15 people including nine pilgrims and six security personnel, while 46 others were injured.

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