Fresh batch of 4,584 pilgrims leave Jammu for Amarnath

The 16th batch comprising of 4,584 pilgrims, including 1,152 women and 95 seers, Wednesday left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to offer their prayers at the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.

The pilgrims, including 28 children, left in a convoy of 192 vehicles under tight security arrangements in the early hours and will be reaching the twin base camps of Pahalgam in Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal districts later in the day, the officials said. The shrine is located at an altitude of 3,880 metres.

The yatra, which started on the twin routes — the traditional 36-km Pahalgam and 14-km shorter Baltal — on July 1, crossed the two-lakh mark on Tuesday.

Of the latest batch, the officials said 2,612 pilgrims, including 536 women, 12 children and 95 seers, are heading for Pahalgam to undertake the yatra from there, while the remaining 1,972 pilgrims, including 616 women and 16 children, have preferred the Baltal route.

With this batch, a total of 80,181 pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here since the commencement of the yatra, the officials said, adding that as many as 2,05,083 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine till late Tuesday.

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.