As many as 628 pilgrims, including 391 men, 179 women and 11 children, left from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu in a cavalcade of 18 vehicles at 4:05 AM, police said.

The convoy has already crossed Kud on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and would reach their destinations at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps by this evening, they said.

A total of 50,656 pilgrims have so far left from the Jammu base camp for the Amarnath shrine.

Situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the Amarnath cave shrine houses the Holy Lingam, an ice stalagmite structure believed to symbolize Lord Shiva.

For this year's yatra, 1,93,000 pilgrims have registered themselves with the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB).

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