Amid heavy rains, 5600 more pilgrims begin Amarnath Yatra

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Jammu: Despite heavy rains, a contingent of over 5,600 pilgrims set off from Jammu towards the twin basecamps, Baltal and Palagam, of the Amarnath cave shrine on Thursday, officials said.

More than 30,000 devotees offered prayers to the naturally formed ice lingam on Wednesday alone, bringing the total number of pilgrims to over one lakh, they said.

The seventh batch of pilgrims included 4,487 men, 1,011 women, 10 children and 188 ‘sadhus’ and ‘sadhvis’ who departed at 3.13 am in 219 vehicles, under the escort of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp, the officials said.

Of these, 3,668 pilgrims opted for the traditional 48 km Pahalgam route, while 2,028 chose the shorter but steeper 14 km Baltal route, they said.

Since June 28, when Lt Governor Manoj Sinha flagged off the first batch, a total of 37, 522 pilgrims have left the Jammu base camp for the yatra.

The 52-day yatra officially commenced on June 29 from the twin basecamps in Kashmir and will conclude on August 19. Last year, more than 4.5 lakh pilgrims offered prayers at the cave shrine, located at at elevation of 3,880 metres.

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