Six pilgrims died on way to the Amarnath cave, even as the number of yatris who had ‘darshan’ of the naturally formed ice-shivlingam at the 3,880 metre high cave shrine crossed 4.5 lakh on Saturday, officials said.

All the six pilgrims died of cardiac arrest, taking the death toll to 78 in the ongoing yatra which commenced on June 25, officials said.

Ranidhar (30), a resident of Maharashtra, and Amlas Chakravorty (62) of West Bengal died at Baltal base camp, while two Punjab residents Prem Kumar (47) and Gurnam Singh (22) breathed their last at Brarimarg and Nagatati-Pahalgam, respectively, the officials said.

They said Ram Bhai Baggi (50) of Maharashtra and Rajinder Kumar of Chandigarh passed away at Railpathri and the holy cave, respectively.

The yatra was, however, progressing smoothly and 4,55,765 pilgrims had paid obeisance at the shrine till this afternoon, the officials said.

The yatra is scheduled to conclude on August 2 coinciding with ‘Raksha Bhandan’ with the arrival of the ‘Chhari Mubarak’ (holy mace) of lord shiva at the shrine.