Over 7,000 pilgrims leave for Amarnath cave shrine from Jammu, more than half return due to highway closure

The convoy headed to Pahalgam returned to the Bhagwati Nagar base camp as the Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed due to landslides triggered by rains

July 23, 2022 05:06 pm | Updated 05:06 pm IST - Jammu

Amarnath Yatra pilgrims stand in a queue to enter the Bhagwati Nagar-base camp in Jammu, on July 23.

Amarnath Yatra pilgrims stand in a queue to enter the Bhagwati Nagar-base camp in Jammu, on July 23. | Photo Credit: PTI

A fresh batch of 7,053 Amarnath pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu on July 23 for the twin base camps in Ganderbal district but over half of them were forced to return due to highway closure, officials said.

The pilgrims left in 243 vehicles escorted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), they said.

As many as 2,504 pilgrims headed to the Baltal base camp were the first to leave in 88 vehicles, followed by the second convoy of 155 vehicles carrying 4,649 pilgrims to the Pahalgam base camp, the officials said.

However, the convoy headed to Pahalgam returned to the Bhagwati Nagar base camp as the Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed due to landslides triggered by rains. The convoy headed to Baltal was halted at Ramban and the pilgrims were housed in the Yatri Niwas camp.

Heavy overnight rains in Jammu have triggered landslides and mudslides.

The Amarnath Yatra was suspended from Jammu on July 22 due to inclement weather and bad condition of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

The 43-day Amarnath Yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on June 29.

Also read: Six pilgrims, one pony driver die in last 36 hours; death toll climbs to 49

So far, over 2.22 lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice Shiv lingam, the officials said.

The pilgrimage is scheduled to end on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

So far, 35 people, mostly pilgrims, have died during the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. This excludes 15 pilgrims who died in a flash flood near the cave shrine on July 8, the officials said. 

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