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11k devotees have darshan at Amarnath cave: officials

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Srinagar, July 02: Over 11,000 pilgrims Tuesday paid obeisance at the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas as a fresh batch of 4,800 pilgrims left from Jammu base camp for Pahalgam and Baltal camps, said officials.

"On the second day of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, 11,456 Yatris paid obeisance at the holy cave. Till date, 19,859 pilgrims had 'darshan' of the Shivling at the cave," said a spokesman for the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

Earlier in the day, the third batch of 4,823 Amarnath pilgrims left a Jammu base camp for the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine.

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

Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so far registered for the pilgrimage, which began on July 1 and last till August 15.

The pilgrims reach the holy cave shrine either through easier Pahalgam route in Anantnag district involving 36 kms of trekking over three to five days or 14 kms of trekking for over one to two days along the steeper Baltal route in Ganderbal district.

The third batch of 4,823 pilgrims, including 3,759 males, 936 females and 128 sadhus and sadhvis, left in a fleet of 223 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp here at around 3.30 am for Pahalgam and Baltal.

For the Pahalgam route, 2,584 pilgrims left the base camp, while 2,239 pilgrims for Baltal left in 114 and 109 buses and cars, which were escorted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, officials said.

The Yatra to the holy cave commenced Monday from both Baltal and the Pahalgam routes in Kashmir valley.

As many as 6,884 devotees left from Baltal and 3,065 from Pahalgam route on Monday, they said, adding the first batch was flagged off from here on Sunday.

Multi-tier security arrangements have been put in place for smooth and successful conduct of the Yatra concluding on August 15, they said.

As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3.20 lakh in 2016 and 2.60 lakh in 2017.

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