|Over 3,500 yatris leave for Amarnath|
|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, July 21: Despite cloudy weather, the annual pilgrimage to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir was progressing smoothly as fresh batches of 3,500 pilgrims, including women and sadhus, left Baltal and Nunwan Pahalgam base camps for the holy cave shrine early Saturday morning. As many as 1,632 pilgrims, including 428 women and saints, left Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu base camp in 50 vehicles for Kashmir valley at 0300 hrs under unprecedented security arrangements. About 1,500 yatris, including women and sadhus, left Baltal base camp for the cave shrine. The pilgrims will reach the cave shrine after covering the 14 km hilly distance on foot. Pilgrims, who had night halt in the camp near the cave, have also started their return journey to base camp. They said over 2,000 pilgrims left Nunwan Pahalgam base camp for first halting station at Chandanwari on the traditional track. Majority of the pilgrims will continue their journey towards the next halting station, they said, adding that the yatris, who had night halt at Chandanwari, also left for next station. Over 8,000 pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave shrine during the past 24 hours. Pilgrims, who had night halt at camps, are reaching the cave shrine since early on Saturday morning to have darshan there. On Thursday, 7,742 yatris had paid obeisance. Till last night, 2,24,340 had the darshan of the Shivling at the Holy Cave since the commencement of the yatra. Majority of the pilgrims had since returned to their homes.