Serving pilgrims at Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2023

During the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra annual pilgrimage, devotees and pilgrims undertake a multi-day journey to worship at the holy shrine at the Amarnath Holy Cave. This pilgrimage is a very difficult trek through mountainous terrain in the Jammu and Kashmir state in India, in high altitude and cold weather conditions. The shorter route through Baltal takes 1–2 days while the longer route from Pahalgam can take between 3–5 days one way to complete.

Last year, Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) was grateful for the opportunity to serve at the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022. Read more in our blog posts: Preparing to serve at Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022, Reporting for service at Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022, and Serving at the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2022.

Preparing to serve at Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2023

This year, VRMK was grateful for another opportunity to serve the pilgrims and devotees during the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2023. Initially, VMRK received approval to send its 3 ambulances and provide a professional medical team. VMRK began coordinating with the local authorities before the yatra commenced on July 1, 2023. Volunteers came early to the VMRK center in Nawan Nagar to help with the preparations.

In addition to purchasing, organizing, and packing the medical supplies needed, VMRK volunteers also undertook thorough deep cleaning of all three ambulances. All the life saving equipment was serviced to ensure that all are in good working order. This year, VMRK also provided ICU ambulatory technicians. After the equipment had been serviced, the ICU ambulatory technicians conducted test runs to ensure that each ambulance had all the accessories required to operate the machines.

Ambulance service and assisting existing health units

On the evening of June 29, 2023, the three ambulances left the VMRK center in Nawan Nagar for Baltal Base Camp in Jammu and Kashmir. The next morning, the three ambulances with drivers and ICU ambulatory technicians reported to the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir. They were immediately assigned to serve at the base camps in Baltal and Chandanwari.

When VMRK’s team of doctors and paramedical staff arrived, they reported to the Medical Director at the Baltal Base Camp. Each day, the director deploys them to the different existing health units such as Baltal Base Camp, Sangam Top, Manigam Medical Camp, Kali Mata Camp, Chandanwari Base Camp, and Panchtarni.

Emergency 4×4 ambulance at Brarimarg

On June 28, 2023, the Camp Director at Baltal requested VMRK to provide an additional service. An issue had arisen at Brarimarg because it is inaccessible by normal ambulances. Consequently, pilgrims needing urgent medical attention had to be hand-carried on stretchers from Brarimarg to the hospital at Baltal Base Camp. This arduous process would normally take 3 hours.

Therefore, the Camp Director at Baltal requested a 4×4 emergency ambulance with a driver and an oxygen technician to be stationed at Brarimarg. VMRK acted immediately to arrange the vehicle, staff, and necessary equipment. Since July 5, 2023, the 4×4 emergency ambulance service has been stationed at Brarimarg which is 8.75 kilometers from Baltal Base Camp.

When an emergency patient needs urgent medical attention, the team at the government hospital at Brarimarg calls the driver of the emergency ambulance with the details of the patient’s location. The path is very narrow and crowded with pilgrims. Two volunteers have to run ahead to clear the route for the emergency ambulance to reach the patient. Then the emergency ambulance shuttles the patient from Brarimarg to the hospital at Baltal Base Camp.

The 4×4 emergency ambulance service has been a game changer because it has reduced the trip to only 40 minutes, down from the 3 hours to carry the patient on a stretcher.

Live media coverage and news reports

Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra’s services during the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra 2023 was broadcast on live media coverage on August 14, 2023 including Aaj Tak News Channel that broadcast a report in Hindi.

Various media outlets also reported on VMRK’s service during the yatra, including the two reports below from Dainik Jagran on July 20, 2023 and Zabarwan Times on August 6, 2023.


Dainik Jagran news article published on July 20, 2023

The volunteers from Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) are looking after the health of pilgrims on the high mountains

Jagran Reporter, Srinagar:

Amidst the lofty peaks of the Shri Amarnath Yatra route, where even the air grows thin, devoted pilgrims press on with unwavering faith and belief. In such circumstances, the volunteers and health workers of Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) are ensuring the well-being of the devotees at every moment. In addition to offering ambulance services and medical personnel at the Yatra’s base camps, VMRK has already started a medical camp with check-up facilities along the pilgrimage route to cater the needs of the devotees.

It is worth noting that VMRK had extended ambulance services to Shri Amarnath devotees last year as well. This year since June 30, ambulances with dedicated volunteers and medical professionals from the organization have been placed in Kashmir. The Kashmir Directorate of Health Services promptly assigned them to the base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal to ensure the safety and well-being of the pilgrims. Subsequently, the health department requested medical shuttle services. This vehicle extends its reach to areas which are not accessible for normal ambulances. In response, VMRK promptly dispatched the vehicles along with the driver.

Following the ambulance service at the base camp, medical and check-up camp has been started along the Yatra route

According to Mukesh Kumar, Joint Secretary of VMRK, after getting permission from the local administration, VMRK has set up a health camp in Brarimarg since Tuesday. This camp is now offering continuous medical facilities to the devotees around the clock. He mentioned that currently, VMRK has placed 3 ambulances at the base camps along with drivers, and these ambulances are fully equipped to provide emergency facilities as needed.

Furthermore, a team of 15 doctors and paramedical staff is diligently engaged in offering medical services, operating under the coordination of the camp director. Moreover, pilgrims are being transported free of cost by passenger vehicles from Domail to the parking area of Baltal, ensuring their convenience and ease of access. Additionally, personnel have been deployed along the route to facilitate the transportation of patients to the base camp. A medical camp has been set up, where 2 doctors and 4 paramedical staff have been deployed.

The center is actively dedicated to the well-being and welfare of the people

Under the guidance of Sant Baljit Singh Ji, the organization is consistently involved in various humanitarian endeavors. The organization registered in Panchkula’s Nawan Nagar has 240 centers across the country. In addition to medical facilities, these centers have played a significant role in offering improved educational opportunities to the community.