The fifth batch with the highest number of 5,522 pilgrims sofar left a base camp here for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, located at aheight of 3,880 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas, amid tight securityarrangements on Thursday.
As many as 35,000 pilgrims had paid obeisance at the caveshrine till Thursday afternoon, officials said.
Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so farregistered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage, which has two routes —the 36-km Pahalgam track in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district and the 14-kmstretch from Baltal in Ganderbal district.
The fifth batch of 5,522 pilgrims — 4,456 men, 871 women,31 children and 164 seers — left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here at around3.30 am for Pahalgam and Baltal in a fleet of 235 vehicles, officials said.
As many as 2,501 pilgrims left the base camp for thePahalgam route in 106 buses and light motor vehicles, while 2,520 left forBaltal in 129 buses and light motor vehicles, which were escorted by CentralReserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, they added.
Thursday’s batch has the highest number of pilgrims.Previously, the highest number of 4,823 pilgrims had left Jammu for the holycave shrine on Tuesday.
The “yatra” to the holy cave commenced on Mondayfrom both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes in the Kashmir valley.
On Wednesday, 13,800 devotees paid obeisance to the icelingam of Lord Shiva at the cave shrine. The first batch of pilgrims wasflagged off from here on Sunday.
Multi-tier security arrangements have been put in place fora smooth and successful conduct of the “yatra” scheduled to concludeon August 15.
As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the caveshrine last year, while the numbers were 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3.20 lakh in 2016and 2.60 lakh in 2017.