Sadhu dies from illness; another batch leaves Jammu for Amarnath

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Jammu, July 24: A 56-year-old sadhu died due to illness even as a fresh batch of over 1,200 pilgrims left Jammu today for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.

The sadhu, Omeshanand from West Bengal, fell ill at Ram Mandir in Jammu yesterday and was shifted to Government Medical College where he died in the evening, they said.

Sadhus from across the country stay at the temple before and after paying obeisance at the 3,880-metre high shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam.

It was not immediately clear whether Omeshanand had performed the yatra, the officials said.

Braving heavy rains which lashed many parts of Jammu last night, a fresh batch of 1,282 pilgrims, including 266 women and 87 sadhus, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for Kashmir in the early hours today.

The pilgrims travelling in a convoy of 44 vehicle under tight security are expected to reach the twin base camps of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district later in the day, the officials said.

They said while 868 pilgrims including 129 women and 87 sadhus opted for the traditional 36-km Pahalgam track, 414 pilgrims including 137 women are performing the yatra through the shorter 12-km Baltal track.

The 60-day yatra commenced from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal on June 28 and is scheduled to conclude on August 26, coinciding with “Raksha Bandhan”.

Till last evening, a total of 2,40,536 yatris had visited the cave shrine.