Srinagar- A fresh batch of over 3,000 Amarnath pilgrims left a base camp here for Kashmir on Saturday but their convoy was stopped in Ramban after authorities closed the Jammu-Srinagar national highway following heavy rains and landslides.
Landslides due to rains have been reported from Mehar and Dalwas areas along the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, officials said.
The 20th batch of 3,472 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu in 132 vehicles in the early hours of Saturday but the convoy was stopped at Chanderkote due to the closure of the highway, they said.
Of them, 2,515 pilgrims are listed to undertake the yatra to the amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas from Pahalgam in Anantnag district and 957 by the Baltal route in Ganderbal district, the officials said.
Over three lakh pilgrims have already undertaken the pilgrimage to the shrine located at an altitude of 3,880 metres since it began on July 1.
Road clearance operations are on at affected areas to ensure early restoration of traffic on the highway, according to traffic department officials.
Light to moderate rains and thunderstorms have been reported from many parts of Jammu and Kashmir, a meteorological department official said.
Rainfall is likely to continue throughout the day with forecast of heavy spells in certain areas such as those in Kathua district. This will be followed by intermittent light to moderate rain at scattered places on Sunday, he said.
A Gujjar hamlet at Ghadkhal in the Akhnoor sector on the outskirts of Jammu was inundated due to rise in the water level of the Chenab river in the morning. According to officials, the current water level of the Chenab at Akhnoor is 29.6 feet against the flood alert level of 32 feet.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.