Another batch of 4,675 pilgrims left Jammu on Friday for Kashmir to perform the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.
Officials said that the Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu in an escorted convoy.
“Of these, 1825 are going to Baltal base camp while 2850 are going to the Pahalgam base camp.
“Among today’s Yatris there are 3400 male, 1189 female, 16 children, 55 Sadhus, 12 Sadhvis and three transgenders,” officials said.
Since it started this year, over 1.95 lakh pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra so far.
Thirty pilgrims have died this year so far, 29 of them because of natural causes while one was killed by a shooting stone.
Yatris approach the Himalayan cave shrine either from the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam route which involves an uphill trek of 43 kilometres from the Pahalgam base camp or from the north Kashmir Baltal base camp which involves 13 Kms uphill trek.
Those using the traditional Pahalgam route take 3-4 days to reach the cave shrine while those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after having ‘darshan’ inside the cave shrine situated 3888 metres above the sea-level.
Helicopter services are also available for Yatris on both routes.
The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that devotees believe symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The ice stalagmite structure wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.
This year’s 62-day long Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end on August 31 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
To protect the pilgrims from high altitude sickness, authorities have banned all junk food at the free community kitchens called the ‘Langars’ that have been set up along both the routes of the Yatra.
The banned items include all bottled drinks, halwai items, fried foods and tobacco based products.