Jammu: A day after the Amarnath Yatra from Jammu to Kashmir was suspended due to inclement weather, a fresh batch of nearly 4,000 pilgrims left a base camp here on Saturday to offer prayers at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, officials said.
The yatra from Jammu city to Kashmir on the Baltal route in Ganderbal district was suspended on Friday after heavy rains rendered the track unsafe.
The 25th batch of pilgrims, including 17 children, 785 women and 240 sadhus, left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in a fleet of 165 vehicles amid tight security in the early hours despite rains, the officials said.
Large parts of Jammu and Kashmir have been lashed by rains for three days now.
According to the officials, the pilgrims are expected to reach the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal later in the day.
While 2,318 pilgrims are heading for the Pahalgam base camp, the remaining 1,608 would undertake the yatra from the Baltal track, they said.
So far, 29 pilgrims, two ‘sevadaars’ (volunteers) and two security personnel deployed along the yatra route have died, the officials said.
Three pilgrims have died enroute to the cave in the last two days due to high altitude sickness, they added.
Deaths due to cardiac arrest triggered by lack of oxygen in the area around the cave shrine have been common over the years, prompting the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to issue regular health advisories to pilgrims.
Forty pilgrims have taken ill or sustained injuries due to shooting stones and other causes since the commencement of the pilgrimage on July 1.
The number of pilgrims who have paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas this year has already crossed the three-lakh mark. Till Friday, 3,14,584 pilgrims have visited the shrine.
Last year, 2.85 lakh pilgrims had visited the shrine.
The 46-day yatra is scheduled to end on August 15, coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.