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Over 5,500 Pilgrims Set Out For Amarnath

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A batch of 5,522 pilgrims on Thursday left Jammu for the Himalayan cave shrine Amarnath, after 33,694 yatris completed paying obeisance before the ice stalagmite structure of Lord Shiva over the past three days.

Two escorted convoys left for the valley, police said, adding that 2,520 were headed to the Baltal base camp while 3,002 to Pahalgam. The MET office has forecast generally fair weather along both tracks.

The annual Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end after 45 days on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima.

The cave shrine situated at 3,888 metres above the sea-level houses the ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to the devotees.

According to belief, it was a Muslim shepherd named Buta Malik who had discovered the cave shrine in 1850. A Sufi saint gave the shepherd a bag of charcoal that turned out to be gold.

Symbolically, the lore turned out to be true as the shepherd family shared a portion of the offerings at the Cave shrine for more than 150 years.

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