Jammu, July 30 - About 45,000 pilgrims were treated at the medical camps set up along the Amarnath pilgrimage trek route this year, according to an official.
"These medical aid camps serve pilgrims round-the-clock to provide medical aid for common ailments," said a state government spokesman.
The Department of Indian System of Medicines and Homoeopathy (ISM&H) has established 10 medical-aid camps on both Baltal and Pahalgam routes to the Amarnath cave shrine this year.
According to the spokesman, the pilgrims preferred the Ayurvedic system.
"It is clear by the number of patients treated in ISM Camps for the last two years. In 2010, 33,165 patients were treated and in 2011, 39,518 patients.
This year, since the start of the Yatra June 25, a record number of 45,000 patients have already been provided free consultation and treatment in these medical-aid camps, said the spokesman.
Various disorders like joint pain, respiratory tract disorder, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorder, and skin disease are readily and effectively treated by this system, the official added.
Last year, 107 pilgrims died due to natural causes during the Yatra. In 2010, 78 and in 2009, 42 pilgrims died due to natural causes.
About 750,000 pilgrims visited the cave shrine last year. The figure was 600,000 in 2010 and 450,000 in 2009. This year, 580,000 pilgrims have so far performed the Yatra.
Statistics reveal that the overall mortality rate of pilgrims seems to have gradually increased over the years as the number of pilgrims has also increased.
Whether it is lack of proper acclimatization or bogus fitness certificates that are the culprit, the fact remains that pilgrims across all age groups are among the 98 who have died due to natural causes during this year's Yatra, which is definitely a reason for concern.
Lakhs of pilgrims perform the annual Amarnath pilgrimage at the Himalayan cave shrine, situated at a height of 12,760 feet, which has a natural ice stalagmite believed to be an icon of Lord Shiva.