The batch of 288 men, 80 women, three children and 47 sadhus left in a motorcade of 12 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp here at 4.40 AM, a police official said.

Amid tight security arrangements made by CRPF, the convoy has already crossed Kud on Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

With today's batch, as many as 45,442 pilgrims have so far left from the Jammu base camp for the shrine.

The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. Devotees call the stalagmite structure the 'Holy Lingam' and believe it symbolises mystical powers of Lord Shiva.

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