The ongoing Amarnath yatra is showing a decreasing trend in the number of pilgrims as a batch of only 1,147 of them left the base camp in Jammu on Wednesday for the twin base camps of the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.
While 3,862 pilgrims had left Jammu for the cave shrine located at a height of 3,880 metres on Monday, 2,189 and 1,147 devotees had embarked on the annual pilgrimage from here on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
In the 26th batch of pilgrims, 1,147 people left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here on Wednesday morning in a convoy of 47 vehicles amid heavy security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the officials said.
They said 476 pilgrims headed for Baltal were the first to leave the Bhagwati Nagar camp in 18 vehicles, followed by a second convoy of 29 vehicles carrying 671 pilgrims for Pahalgam.
The number of pilgrims has drastically fallen in the last three days mostly due to bad weather conditions, the officials said.
The annual 43-day pilgrimage commenced on the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and the 14-km shorter Baltal route in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal on June 30.
Over 2.3 lakh pilgrims have so far offered their prayers at the cave shrine, housing a naturally formed ice-shivlingam, the officials said.
A total of 1,38,921 pilgrims have left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp since June 29, the day the first batch of pilgrims was flagged off by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
The yatra is scheduled to be concluded on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
A total of 36 people, mostly pilgrims, have died during the ongoing yatra, excluding 15 pilgrims who were killed in flash floods near the cave shrine on July 1.