Smallest batch of 43 pilgrims on way to Amarnath cave

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Jammu: The smallest batch of 43 pilgrims today left the base camp Jammu for the Amarnath cave in south Kashmir Himalayas as the 60-day annual pilgrimage entered the final phase with the holy mace joining the yatra, officials said.

The 45th batch of pilgrims comprising 42 men and a woman left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp this morning for Kashmir to undertake the yatra through the shortest 12-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district, the officials said.

This was the smallest batch of pilgrims leaving for the cave shrine from here since the commencement of the 60-day yatra from the twin routes of Baltal and traditional 36-km Pahalgam route in Ganderbal district on June 28.

Yesterday, 802 pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine taking the number of pilgrims who had performed the yatra this year so far to 2,82,376.

The yatra entered the final phase today as ‘Chhari Mubarak’, the saffron robed mace of Lord Shiva, was taken by a group of ‘sadhus’ to Pahalgam from its abode at Dashnami Akhara in the heart of Srinagar, the officials said.

They said the holy mace would reach the cave on August 26 after night halts at various places en route including Pahalgam, Chandanwari and Sheshnag and would be offered special prayers at the shrine, marking the end of the annual yatra. PTI