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Over 6,500 Amarnath pilgrims leave Jammu for Cave shrine in Kashmir

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Jammu: The fifth batch of more than 6,500 Amarnath pilgrims left the Jammu city in the early hours of Tuesday for the twin base camps in Kashmir, officials said.

The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the 3,888-metre-high cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas commenced from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on July 1.

The officials said the pilgrim footfall at the shrine is likely to cross the 50,000 mark later in the day as the yatra is progressing smoothly, with devotees from across the country thronging the base camps to have a glimpse of the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam and offer their prayers.

A total of 6,597 pilgrims, including 1,429 women, 160 seers and 33 children, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for the valley in a convoy of 253 vehicles amid tight security arrangements in the early hours of Tuesday, they said.

The officials said 4,475 pilgrims, headed for Pahalgam, left in a convoy of 160 vehicles for the valley at around 4.10 am, while another convoy of 93 vehicles carrying 2,122 pilgrims was the first to leave for the Baltal base camp at 3.40 am.

With this, a total of 24,162 pilgrims have left the Jammu base camp for the valley since June 30, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The Yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 31.

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