The 25th batch of over 3,800 Amarnath pilgrims left the base camp in Jammu for the twin base camps of the 3,880-metre-high Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas on Monday, officials said. A total of 3,862 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here in a convoy of 125 vehicles amid heavy security of the Central Reserve Police Force this morning, the officials said.
They said 1,835 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 46 vehicles, followed by the second convoy of 79 vehicles carrying 2,027 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
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 2.25 lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, the officials said. With this, 135,585 pilgrims have left from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
The yatra is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. Thirty six pilgrims have died during the yatra so far and another 15 pilgrims died in the flashfloods near the Amarnath cave shrine on July 1.
(With PTI Inputs)