11,000 more devotees bow in the cave of Holy Amarnath: Officers

SRINAGAR: More than 11,000 pilgrims on Tuesday bowed in the shrine of the Amarnath cave in South Kashmir Himalayas as a new batch of 4,800 yatris left the base camp of Jammu towards the Pahalgam and Baltal camps, officials said.

On the second day of the present Shri Amarnathji Yatra, 11,456 Yatris offered obeisances in the Sacred Cave. To date, 19,859 Yatris had 'darshan' of Shivling in the Holy Cave, said a spokesman for the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB).

At the beginning of the day, the third group of 4,823 pilgrims from Amarnath left a base camp in Jammu for the cave sanctuary of 3,880 meters high.

As many as 8,403 pilgrims paid obeisance at the shrine in the Himalayas till Monday evening, officials said.

More than 1.5 lakh pilgrims from all over the country have registered so far for the pilgrimage, which began on July 1 and lasted until August 15.

Pilgrims arrive at the sanctuary of the holy cave, either through the easiest route of Pahalgam, in 36 kms of trekking for three to five days or 14 kms of trekking for one or two days along the steep route of Baltal in the district of Ganderbal.

The third group of 4,823 pilgrims, including 3,759 men, 936 women and 128 sadhus and sadhvis, departed in a fleet of 223 vehicles from the base camp of Bhagwati Nagar here around 3:30 am for Pahalgam and Baltal.

For the Pahalgam route, 2,584 pilgrims left the base camp, while 2,239 pilgrims from Baltal departed in 114 and 109 buses and cars, which were escorted by the staff (CRPF), authorities said.

The yatra to the holy cave began on Monday from the Baltal and Pahalgam routes in the Kashmir valley.

Some 6,884 devotees departed from Baltal and 3,065 from the Pahalgam route on Monday, they said, adding that the first batch was marked from here on Sunday.

Multi-level security arrangements have been established for smooth and successful driving of the yatra conclusion on August 15, they said.

Last year, 2.85 lakh pilgrims paid a reverence in the cave, while the number of pilgrims was 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3.20 lakh in 2016 and 2.60 lakh in 2017.