15th batch of 3,967 pilgrims leaves Jammu for Amarnath Yatra

The 15th batch of 3,967 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here on Tuesday to pay obeisance at the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.

The 46-day yatra, which started from the twin routes — traditional 36-km Pahalgam in Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal in Ganderbal district –on July 1, is heading to cross the two lakh mark most likely later in the day, they said.

As many as 1,94,488 pilgrims had ‘darshan’ of the naturally formed shivling at the shrine till 10 am on Tuesday, while thousands more are walking their distance to offer prayers, the officials said.

A convoy of 165 vehicles carrying 3,967 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp early Tuesday under tight security arrangements and will be reaching the Pahalgam and Baltal base camps later in the day.

The officials said 2,352 pilgrims, including 455 women, 35 children and 121 seers, are heading for Pahalgam to undertake the yatra from there, while the rest of 1,615 pilgrims, including 485 women and 18 children, are performing the yatra from the Baltal track.

So far 75,597 pilgrims had left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to undertake the yatra under security cover being provided by the state administration.

The yatra is scheduled to end on August 15 coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.

As many as 2,85,006 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the shrine last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3,52,771 in 2015, 3,20,490 in 2016 and 2,60,003 in 2017.