Srinagar, Jul 2 (IANS): The Amarnath pilgrimage proceeded smoothly from south Kashmir's Nunwan and north Kashmir's Baltal base camps Friday despite restrictions in the valley to thwart the proposed separatist rally here.
"We have allowed 7,500 pilgrims to move towards the cave shrine from the Baltal base camp early this (Friday) morning," Imtiyaz Hussain, superintendent of police, north Kashmir's Ganderbal district, told IANS.
"Another batch of 2,000 pilgrims has moved to Baltal from Manigam transit camp. The yatra (pilgrimage) is taking place smoothly and efficiently," he added.
Like previous years, locals in the area were helping to ensure that the pilgrimage proceeded smoothly, he said.
"The labourers, ponywallahs, tea-stall owners, fruit sellers - all of them are locals and their contribution in the smooth conduct of the yatra is second to none," he said.
From the Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp in south Kashmir, 5,000 pilgrims are being allowed to proceed to the cave shrine in 10 batches of 500 each.
The weather office has predicted rain and thunder showers at isolated places along the route to the cave shrine that houses a natural ice stalagmite worshipped as an icon of of the Hindu god Shiva.
Officials said over 11,000 devotees had Thursday paid obeisance at the shrine.
The nearly two-month-long pilgrimage ends Aug 25.