Amid heavy rains, 4,700 pilgrims leave for Amarnath cave shrine from Jammu

The 43-day Amarnath Yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 30.
Hindu pilgrims cross mountain trails during their journey to the Amarnath cave shrine from the Baltal route in Kashmir. [File]
Hindu pilgrims cross mountain trails during their journey to the Amarnath cave shrine from the Baltal route in Kashmir. [File] ANI

Jammu, Jul 21: Braving heavy rains, a fresh batch of over 4,703 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for the twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Thursday, officials said.

The pilgrims left in a convoy of 156 vehicles escorted by the Central Reserve Security Force (CRPF), they said. The officials said 2,001 pilgrims headed for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 54 vehicles, followed by the second convoy of 102 vehicles carrying 2,702 pilgrims to Pahalgam. With this, a total of 1,24,714 pilgrims have left the Jammu base camp for the Valley since June 29, according to the officials.

Heavy rains have lashed the Jammu region since last night, triggering apprehension about landslides, mudslides and flash floods. The 43-day Amarnath Yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 30. So far, over 2.20 lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice Shiv lingam, the officials said.

The pilgrimage is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. So far, 35 people, mostly pilgrims, have died during the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. This excludes 15 pilgrims who died in a flash flood near the cave shrine on July 8, the officials said.

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