The Amarnath yatra resumed today from Jammu after two days with a fresh batch of 454 pilgrims, including 63 women, leaving the Bhagwati Nagar base camp for the cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
The yatra was suspended from Jammu on Sunday, coinciding with the separatist-sponsored two-day strike in protest against the legal challenge to the validity of Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to the natives of Jammu and Kashmir.
A police official said the 36th batch of 454 pilgrims, comprising 391 men and 63 women, left the base camp in a convoy of 11 vehicles under tight security.
While 230 pilgrims, including 30 women, have opted to undertake the yatra from the shortest 12-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district, 194 others, including 33 women, are performing the yatra from the traditional 36-km Pahalgam track, the official said, adding the pilgrims heading for Pahalgam also included 33 Sadhus.
The 60-day annual yatra commenced from the twin tracks on June 28. It is scheduled to conclude on August 26, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
Till last evening, 2,74,118 pilgrims had paid their obeisance at the 3,880-metre-high holy cave, where the natural ice-shivalingam is formed.
The early melting of the shivalingam this year has led to a considerable drop in the number of pilgrims.