A fresh batch of over 2,100 pilgrims on Tuesday left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to offer prayers at the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said. A total of 2,189 pilgrims, the lowest till date this year, formed the 26th batch that left in a convoy of 73 vehicles amid heavy security of the Central Reserve Police Force this morning, they said.
The officials said 815 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Jammu camp in 23 vehicles, followed by the second convoy of 49 vehicles carrying 1,374 pilgrims for Pahalgam. The number of pilgrims visiting the cave shrine has drastically fallen in past two days. The reason, however, is yet to be ascertained, officials said. The annual 43-day yatra commenced from the twin base camps — traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal — on June 30.
Over 2.30 lakh pilgrims had offered their prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, officials said. With this, 1,37,774 pilgrims have left from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29. The yatra is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. Thirty six pilgrims have died during the ongoing yatra while another 15 pilgrims died in the flashfloods near the Amarnath cave shrine on July 1.