500 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims leave Jammu base camp
Jammu: Over 500 more pilgrims on Saturday left here for the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
A total of 597 pilgrims of the 30th batch left base camp Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in the city in a convoy of 30 vehicles amid heavy CRPF security in the morning, they said.
The officials said 155 pilgrims heading for Baltal base camp were the first to leave in eight vehicles, followed by the second convoy of 22 vehicles carrying 442 pilgrims for the Pahalgam base camp of the annual pilgrimage.
The number of pilgrims visiting the cave shrine has drastically fallen in the past three days mostly due to bad weather conditions, they said, adding Saturday’s was the lowest batch of pilgrims in past one week.
While 3,862 pilgrims left for the cave shrine from Jammu on Monday, 2,189, 1,147, 1,602 and 835 devotees and left for the pilgrimage from here on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, respectively, the officials said.
The annual 43-day Amarnath Yatra commenced from the twin base camps — traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal — on June 30.
Over 2.7 lakh pilgrims have so far offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, the officials said.
A total of 1,41,950 pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
The yatra is scheduled to end on August 11, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
A total of 36 people, mostly pilgrims, have died during the ongoing yatra.
Besides, 15 pilgrims were killed in the flash floods at the Amarnath cave shrine on July one.