|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, July 7: The eighth batch of 4,773 pilgrims Sunday left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here to pay obeisance at the 3,880 meter high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
With this, a total of 36,309 pilgrims have so far left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp since the commencement of the yatra from Jammu on June 30, a day ahead of the official start of the 46-day pilgrimage from the twin tracks - traditional 36-km Pahalgam in Anantnag district and 14-km shorter Baltal route in Ganderbal district, the officials said.
Over 85,000 yatris have so far offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, since the beginning of the yatra, which is scheduled to end on August 15 coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.
The latest batch, which also included 24 children, left in a convoy of 213 vehicles under tight security cover and will reach the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal later in the day, the officials said.
They said while 2,751 pilgrims, including 563 women, 24 children and 189 Sadhus are undertaking the yatra through the traditional route, the rest of 2022 pilgrims including 507 women and 49 Sadhus are taking the Baltal track.