Jammu, Jul 14: Amid tight security, another batch of over 5,000 pilgrims on Thursday left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to offer prayers at the 3,880-metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
The 15th batch comprising 5,449 pilgrims left in a convoy of 201 vehicles for the twin base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal in the early hours, they said.
The officials said 1,666 pilgrims including 536 women and 43 children heading for Baltal in 61 vehicles were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp around 3.20 am, followed by the second convoy of 140 vehicles for Pahalgam, carrying 3,783 pilgrims including 702 women, 103 sadhus and 54 children at around 4.20 am.
So far, over 1.45 lakh pilgrims have offered their prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally-formed ice-shivlingam, despite a three-day suspension in the wake of flash floods triggered by heavy rains near the cave shrine on July 8 which left 16 people dead.
A total of 88,526 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 Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
The officials said eleven pilgrims have also died mostly due to health conditions during the yatra, which is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Shravan Purnima' coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.