Amid tight security arrangements, the fourth batch of 6,113 pilgrims, including 1,292 women, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here on Saturday to pay obeisance at the 3,880-metre-high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
The pilgrims, also comprising 195 Sadhus and 25 children, will be reaching the twin base camps of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district later in the day.
Over 20,000 pilgrims have offered their prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, since the commencement of the 43-day yatra on June 30 from the twin routes – the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and the 14-km shorter Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.
Of the latest batch that left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp, the officials said 4,173 pilgrims left in a convoy of 148 vehicles for the Pahalgam base camp, while another 1,940 pilgrims preferred the Baltal route and departed in a fleet of 80 vehicles.
With this, 23,214 yatris have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the Valley since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
The yatra is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of ‘Shravan Purnima’ coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.