Over 700 Amarnath pilgrims left Jammu on Sunday for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir, officials said.
The 43-day-long pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 30 from the twin tracks -- the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in south Kashmir's Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district.
A total of 715 pilgrims in the 31st batch left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here in a convoy of 26 vehicles amid heavy CRPF security Sunday morning, the officials said.
They said 384 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 14 vehicles followed by the second convoy of 12 vehicles carrying 331 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
With this, a total of 142,665 pilgrims have left 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 number of pilgrims visiting the 3,880-metre-high Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas has drastically fallen in the past three days mostly due to bad weather conditions, they said adding that Sunday's was the smallest batch of pilgrims in the last one week.
While 3,862 pilgrims left for Amarnath from Jammu on Monday, on Tuesday 2,189 devotees, Wednesday 1,147, Thursday 1,602, Friday 835 and on Saturday 573 people left for the cave shrine from here.
The annual pilgrimage is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
A total of 36 people, mostly pilgrims, have died during the ongoing Amarnath Yatra till now, excluding 15 pilgrims, who died in the flashfloods at the Amarnath cave shrine on July 1.
(Inputs from PTI)