Amarnath Shrine (File Photo- PTI)
A batch of 454 pilgrims, the smallest so far, left the base camp in Jammu on Friday for the cave shrine of Amarnath, situated at an altitude of 3,880 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas.
The “yatra”, which commenced on the twin routes of Baltal in Ganderbal and Pahalgam in Anantnag district on June 28, has progressed smoothly and so far, over 2.67 lakh pilgrims have paid their obeisance at the cave shrine, officials said.
However, the number of pilgrims undertaking the “yatra” has marked a sharp dip over the past week owing to the early melting of the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam at the sanctum sanctorum, they added.
A police official said a fresh batch of 454 pilgrims left for Kashmir from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here in the wee hours on Friday in a fleet of 13 vehicles under tight security arrangements.
On July 31, a batch of 588 pilgrims had left Jammu for the twin base camps in Kashmir.
On the 36th day of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra on Thursday, 1,974 “yatris” paid obeisance at the holy cave, police said, adding that till date, 2,67,911 “yatris” have visited the shrine.
The “yatra” is scheduled to conclude on August 26.