JAMMU : The seventh batch of over 6,500 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims left Jammu in the early hours of Thursday for the twin base camps in Kashmir amid tight security, officials said.
The 62-day annual pilgrimage to the 3,888-metre-high cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas commenced from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district on July 1.
The officials said the pilgrim footfall at the shrine has crossed the 65,000 mark and the yatra is progressing smoothly, with devotees from across the country thronging the base camps to have a glimpse of the naturally formed ice shivling and offer their prayers.
A total of 6,554 pilgrims — 5,053 male, 1,375 women, 101 seers and 25 children — left Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for the Valley in a convoy of 272 vehicles amid tight security arrangements in the early hours of Thursday, they said.
The officials said 3,864 pilgrims, headed for Pahalgam, left in a convoy of 141 vehicles for the Valley, while another convoy of 131 vehicles carrying 2,690 pilgrims left for the Baltal base camp at 3.30 am.
With this, a total of 36,823 pilgrims have left the Jammu base camp for the valley since June 30 when the first batch of pilgrims began the yatra, which was flagged off by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. The yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 31.
The administration has registered over 3,000 fresh pilgrims on tatkal yatra counters in Jammu for their onward journey to Amarnath, officials said.
Over 300 pilgrims, who were carrying fake permits, have also been given permits after fresh registration at on-the-spot counters in Jammu.
These pilgrims were duped by the travel agencies by providing them fake registration documents for their yatra. Three persons have been arrested in this connection so far, they said. (AGENCIES)