The pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas was suspended from Pahalgam route this afternoon following inclement weather, officials said.
"The yatra was stopped around noon as a precautionary measure after heavy rains lashed the track leading to the cave shrine from Pahalgam," they said.
They said nearly 20,000 pilgrims left for the cave this morning from the twin base camps of Nunwan in Pahalgam area of Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district.
The yatra was progressing smoothly along the 13-km shortest Baltal route, but heavy rains forced the authorities to suspend the yatra temporarily from Pahalgam side, the officials said.
They said all the pilgrims have reached safe locations and camps enroute and have been directed to stay there till further orders.
"It is still raining heavily and as soon as the weather improves and the track becomes safe, the pilgrims would be allowed to proceed to their destinations," they said.
They said while 12,235 pilgrims started their onward journey from Baltal base camp, as many as 7,432 devotees were allowed from Nunwan to track the 45-km distance to the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam.
The officials said a total of 1,71,582 pilgrims had visited the cave shrine and offered their prayers after having 'darshan' (glimpse) of the ice-lingam.