Fresh batch of pilgrims leave for Amarnath
The cavalcade of vehicles was escorted by security personnel, also deployed along the highway.india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 11:03 IST
Another batch of 2,105 pilgrims on Saturday left the city for the cave shrine of Amarnath located in the Himalayas in south Kashmir.
The batch, comprising 1,478 men, 397 women, 78 children and 152 'sadhus', left MAM stadium in a fleet of 81 vehicles early morning, official sources said, adding some vehicles carrying pilgrims had joined them from Udhampur district.
The cavalcade of vehicles was escorted by security personnel, also deployed along the highway from Jammu to Baltal and Pahalgam base camps.
The pilgrims are likely to reach their respective destinations -- Pahalgam and Baltal -- by the evening and would begin the journey on foot to the shrine on Sunday.
With Saturday's batch, over 27,800 pilgrims have left the city for the pilgrimage since it commenced on June 10.
Meanwhile, occupancy rates of pilgrims in hotels and lodges here has come down compared to last year, according to the Jammu Hotel and Lodges Association.
"The occupancy in hotels and lodges in the city has decreased by more than 50 per cent as compared to last year," association vice president Kuldeep Wahi said.
He attributed it to pilgrims prefering to travel directly to the valley instead of halting in the city and added that the recent attacks had also led to "decline" in the number of devotees.