Srinagar: Over 2,500 devotees performed the ongoing Amarnath Yatra on its 37th day as another batch of 534 pilgrims left Jammu for Kashmir on Monday.
Officials said that 2,585 Yatris had ‘darshan’ inside the holy cave on Sunday while another batch of 534 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas Monday in an escorted convoy for the Valley.
“Of these 534 pilgrims, 451 are male, 67 female, one child, 14 Sadhus and one Sadhvi.
“Out of these Yatris, 354 are going to Pahalgam base camp while 180 are going to Baltal base camp,” officials said.
Pilgrims approach the Himalayan cave shrine either from the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam route, which involves an uphill trek of 43 kilometres from Pahalgam base camp or from the north Kashmir Baltal base camp, which involves 14 Km uphill trek.
Those using the traditional Pahalgam route take 3-4 days to reach the cave shrine while those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after having ‘darshan’ inside the cave shrine situated 3888 metres above the sea-level.
Helicopter services are also available for Yatris on both routes.
The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that devotees believe symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The ice stalagmite structure wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.
This year’s 62-day long Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end on August 31 on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival.
To protect the pilgrims from high altitude sickness, authorities have banned all junk food at the free community kitchens called the ‘langars’ that have been set up along both the routes of the Yatra.
The banned items include all bottled drinks, halwai items, fried foods and tobacco based products.