“This is the smallest number of pilgrims leaving Jammu for the yatra so far this year,” officials said here.
“They left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 3 a.m. in an escorted convoy of 19 vehicles for the Kashmir Valley.”
So far, over 2.50 lakh pilgrims have performed the yatra since it started on June 29 compared to last year’s 2.30 lakh devotees due to the tension in Kashmir due to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
The pilgrims use either the south Kashmir Pahalgam or the north Kashmir Baltal route to reach the cave shrine situated at 3,888 metres above sea-level.
Helicopter services are also available for pilgrims on both routes.
A total of 48 pilgrims have died during this year. Of these, 17 died in a road accident, eight were killed in a terror attack while 23 due to natural causes.
The yatra will conclude on August 7 on Shravan Purnima coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival.