During the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022, devotees from all over India traveled to the Amarnath Holy Cave to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva in the form of an iced stalagmite Shiva Lingam. A record attendance was expected after its two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Motivated by Sant Baljit Singh, Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) sent a team of doctors, paramedical staff, fully equipped ambulances, and drivers to serve the pilgrims and devotees undertaking this sacred pilgrimage. From July 1 to August 5, 2022, the VMRK teams served in rotation at the health facilities located between Baltal and the last unit before the Amarnath Holy Cave. The VMRK ambulances served from their assigned base camps and transferred patients to nearby hospitals on referral by the doctor on duty.

VMRK coordinators were also in attendance to support the teams and ensure their safety and well-being. Based in Baltal, the coordinators worked with the authorities to coordinate the rotation of the VMRK teams to their assigned stations.

Two routes are available to the pilgrims of the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. One starts at Pahalgam and offers a broader trekking path with a base camp at Chandanwari. The other route starts at the base camp at Baltal. Although the Baltal route is narrower and fairly steep, it is more popular because it is shorter than the Pahalgam route.

On both routes, the pilgrims have to journey through mountainous terrain and high altitude. The pilgrims are advised to wear plenty of warm clothing to endure the mild daytime temperatures and cold nights. In the high altitude, there is less oxygen and that can cause nausea and breathing difficulties. Due to these challenging conditions, medical facilities at many locations along each route offer oxygen points for pilgrims who need help and medical attention. 

Two of the VMRK ambulances served at the Baltal and Chandanwari base camps. A third VMRK ambulance served at the Pantha Chowk Base Camp Hospital, Srinagar. VMRK’s medical and paramedical staff reported to the Medical Director at the Baltal base camp. The director assigned the VMRK teams to different medical facilities between the Baltal base camp and the Amarnath Holy Cave. VMRK teams served at the Baltal Base Camp Hospital, Domail, Sonamarg, Panjtarni, Railpathri, Lower Cave, Sangam Top, and Kali Mata Camp.

Serve selflessly with love and serve safely, ensuring your well-being as well as the well-being of those around you. By doing so, we are serving God in different forms.

Sant Baljit Singh

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