The 28th batch of 599 pilgrims left Jammu for the 3,888-metre-high Amarnath cave shrine of Lord Shiva in south Kashmir Himalayas today amid tight security. Escorted by the CRPF and the state police, the batch comprising 369 males, 133 females and 97 sadhus and sadhvis left in a convoy of 19 vehicles for Baltal and Pahalgam base- camps this morning, officials said. With today’s batch, a total of 67,906 pilgrims have left Jammu for Amarnath in 28 batches since the yatra began on June 28.
A senior official said 2,48,152 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the holy cave shrine in this year’s yatra. The government has mobilised a heavy security blanket of over 35,000 to 40,000 troops, including the police, Army, BSF and CRPF. The annual yatra began this year amid a terror threat, with intelligence reports warning of a probable attack which prompted authorities to mobilise the “highest level” of security, including satellite tracking system.
This year’s yatra will be eight days shorter than last years and will conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 7.