A fresh batch of 590 pilgrims left Jammu on Monday for the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. “Another batch of 590 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 5.45 a.m., in an escorted convoy of 16 vehicles for the Kashmir Valley,” officials said here. So far this year, 2.54 lakh devotees have performed the pilgrimage inside the cave shrine situated at 3,888 metres above sea-level. The shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the size of the visible moon. Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
Pilgrims approach the shrine either through the traditional 46 km Pahalgam route or through the 14 km Baltal route. Forty-eight pilgrims have lost their lives this year — 17 died in a road accident, eight were killed in a terror attack and 23 due to natural causes. The yatra that commenced on June 29 will conclude on August 7 on Shravan Purnima coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.