Press Trust of india

Fresh batch of over 3,000 pilgrims leave for Amarnath

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Jammu, Jul 22: Over 3,000 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for the Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir, officials said.

This was the 21st batch of the pilgrims, taking the total number of yatris who left the base camp for the yatra to 99,405 so far, the officials said.

The officials said the fresh batch comprising 3,178 pilgrims left in a convoy of 128 vehicles under tight security early Monday and will be reaching the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal later in the day.

While 1,634 pilgrims, including 261 women, four children and 142 sadhus are heading for Pahalgam to undertake the yatra from there, the rest of 1,544 pilgrims, including 514 women and 39 children, have preferred the Baltal route, the officials said.

Till Sunday evening, as many as 2.72 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the shrine, housing the naturally-formed ice Shiva Lingam since the commencement of the yatra from the twin routes — traditional 36-km Pahalgam in Anantnag district and shorter 14-km Baltal route — on July 1.

The 46-day yatra is scheduled to end on August 15, coinciding the Raksha Bandhan festival.

The pilgrimage is going on smoothly from both the tracks, the officials said, adding that it was likely to cross the last year’s figures by the evening or Tuesday morning given the heavy rush of the pilgrims, officials said.

As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the shrine last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3.53 lakh in 2015, 3.20 in 2016 and 2.60 in 2017.

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