473 pilgrims leave for Amarnath

Jammu: The smallest batch of 473 pilgrims left here on Wednesday for the Amarnath cave, an official said.

As the 40-day long ongoing yatra to the Himalayan cave in the Kashmir Valley entered its 28th day, the number of pilgrims shrunk further than in the last few days, the official said.

The group left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in an escorted convoy of 14 vehicles at 3 a.m.

“This is the lowest number of pilgrims undertaking the yatra on a single day since its beginning on June 29,” he added.

So far, more than 2.50 pilgrims have paid obeisance inside the cave shrine situated 3,888 metres above the sea-level.

The cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that devotees believe symbolizes mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

The devotees approach the Cave Shrine either through the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam route or through the north Kashmir Baltal route.

So far, 48 pilgrims have died during the Yatra.

The Yatra will conclude on August 7 with the arrival of the ‘Chari Mubarak’ (Lord Shiva’s Mace) at the cave shrine on ‘Shravan Purnima’ coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.