Amid tight security, the eighth batch of over 5,700 pilgrims left from here on Thursday for the twin base camps of 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said. A total of 5,726 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here in a convoy of 242 vehicles amid heavy security of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), they said.
Of these, 4,384 are males, 1,117 females, 57 children, 143 sadhus, 24 sadhvis and one transgender, they said. They said 2,109 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 91 vehicles around 3.40 am followed by the second convoy of 151 vehicles carrying 3,617 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
The 43-day long yatra commenced on June 30 from the twin tracks -- traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir's Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district. So far, over 89,000 pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, officials said.
With this, a total of 57,328 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 Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. The yatra is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
(With PTI Inputs)