Jammu, July 2: The fifth batch of 4,047 pilgrims, including 808 women, today left from here for the Kashmir Valley to pay obeisance at the 3,880-metre high cave shrine of Amarnath, a police official said.
So far, 13,816 pilgrims had visited the cave shrine from the twin routes – traditional 36-km Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and 12-km shortest Baltal route in Ganderbal– since the commencement of the annual 60-day pilgrimage on June 28.
The official said the yatris left in a fleet of 134 vehicles under tight security arrangements early today and are expected to reach Baltal and Pahalgam base camps in the valley later in the day. Among the fifth batch, 2,303 pilgrims, including 148 Sadhus and 370 women, opted for the Pahalgam track, while 1,744, including 438 women, are performing the yatra through Baltal route, the official said.
Despite incessant rains which even posed a threat of flash floods in the valley, the yatra to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced in the valley as per schedule on June 28 after several hours of delay but faced frequent disruptions owing to continuous rainfall, slippery condition of the tracks and shooting of stones and landslides.
A total of 13,816 pilgrims had paid their obeisance at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, till last evening. Among them the highest number of 10,935 pilgrims visited the shrine yesterday. The 60-day yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 26 coinciding with the 'Raksha Bandhan' festival.