SRINAGAR: Heavy rainfall continues to lash Srinagar and upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday affecting the progress of annual Amarnath Yatra.
Due to the bad weather, only a small batch of 856 pilgrims was earlier allowed to move from Srinagar towards the Kashmir Valley to avoid overcrowding at the base camps.
Reports coming from the two base camps in Baltal and Pahalgam indicate that it has been raining all along the two treks leading to the Cave Shrine since morning on Friday.
"No pilgrim was allowed to move towards the Cave Shrine because of rain and slippery conditions along the two treks," an official said.
"The third batch of 856 yatris left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 6.25 am in an escorted convoy of 29 vehicles," police said.
Due to heavy downpour, the Jammu-Srinagar Highway in the Ramban district, which is used by the pilgrims to reach the Valley, was blocked on Thursday for several hours.
Heavy rains again slowed down the traffic on Friday.
However, the PTI later quoted officials as saying that the third batch of 2,876 pilgrims on Friday left for the base camps in Kashmir Valley to pay obeisance at the shrine of Amarnath.
The pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in a fleet of 90 vehicles under tight security at around 0630 hours, braving rains which lashed wide parts of Jammu and Kashmir for the third day today, the officials said.
''Heavy rains in Banihal-Udhampur sector had triggered landslides and shooting of stones at four places at Panthal, Nedgard, Digdol and Samroli this morning, blocking the 260-km highway - the only all-weather road connecting Kashmir with rest of the country,'' the officials said.
This year's Amarnath Yatra commenced on Thursday as 1,007 pilgrims prayed inside the cave shrine.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra also joined the 'Pratham Puja' at the holy cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The 60-day long annual Amarnath Yatra will conclude on August 26 coinciding with Shravan Purnima festival.
(With Agency inputs)