Jammu: The 16th batch of over 5,400 Amarnath pilgrims left Jammu city on Friday morning for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir, officials said.
The annual pilgrimage, which was suspended from Jammu last Sunday due to bad weather resumed on Monday. A flash flood triggered by heavy rains near the cave shrine on Friday last week led to the death of at least 15 people.
The 43-day-long pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 30 from the twin tracks — the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
A total of 5,461 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here in a convoy of 220 vehicles amid heavy CRPF security, the officials said.
They said 1,975 pilgrims heading for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 86 vehicles around 3.30 am followed by a second convoy of 134 vehicles carrying 3,486 pilgrims for Pahalgam at 4.25 am.
With this, a total of 93,987 pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
So far, over 1.52 lakh pilgrims had offered their prayers at the cave shrine, the officials said.
The pilgrimage is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
Five pilgrims died of heart attack and two porters died after they fell into a gorge on Nunwan-Chandanwari track in Kashmir on Thursday, they said. PTI