Jammu, Jul 17 (PTI) Another batch of 2,646 pilgrims today left Jammu for the Amarnath cave shrine of Lord Shiva in south Kashmir Himalayas, amid tight security.

Escorted by the CRPF and police, the batch comprises 1,913 males, 583 females, and 150 sadhus and sadhvis left in a convoy of 106 vehicles for Baltal and Pahalgam base-camps this morning, officials said.

With today’s batch, 56,277 pilgrims and sages have left Jammu for Amarnath in 16 batches since the yatra began from here on June 28.

As many as 2,02,705 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the ice lingum in the cave shrine till last evening.

The annual pilgrimage began this year amid a terror threat, with intelligence reports warning of probable attack which prompted the authorities to mobilise the “highest level” of security, including satellite tracking system.

The government has mobilised a heavy security blanket of over 35,000 to 40,000 troops including the police, the Army, the BSF and the CRPF.

The yatra from Jammu was suspended due to law-and-order situation in the Kashmir Valley on July 8 but resumed the next day.

This year’s yatra will be eight days shorter than the last years 48 days and will conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on August 7.

Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath shrine is 46 km from Pahalgam and 14 km from Baltal.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.