The batch comprising 225 men, 57 women and 45 sadhus left in a cavalcade of 16 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp here at 4:30 AM, a police official said.

Amid tight security arrangements provided by CRPF, the convoy has already crossed Udhampur on Jammu-Srinagar national highway, he said, adding, the pilgrims would reach the twin base camps at Pahalgam and Baltal by this evening.

With this batch, as many as 46,838 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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