Amarnath Yatra commences, 1st batch of pilgrims leave cave shrine

Amarnath Yatra commences, 1st batch of pilgrims leave cave shrine

 

Srinagar, June 29 : Amid tight security, the annual Amarnath Yatra began in Kashmir on Saturday with the first batch of pilgrims left the twin base camps for the cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.

They said more than 9,000 pilgrims left from the twin routes of Baltal in Ganderbal District and NunWan Pahalgam in Anantnag district for an onward trek to pay obeisance at the cave shrine, which houses the naturally formed ice-lingam.

Officials said the first batches of pilgrims from twin routes were flagged off by the deputy commissioners of Ganderbal and Anantnag, along with senior government functionaries.

There was a lot of enthusiasm among Yatris who left for the cave shrine early Saturday morning.

From Baltal base camp, the pilgrims will undertake a 13-km journey to the cave shrine located at an altitude of 3880-metre. To reach the cave from the traditional Nunwan-Pahalgam route, pilgrims have to take the 48 km-long journey.

“All arrangements for the annual pilgrimage, including security, have been put in place,” an official said.

The J&K government has put up a thick security blanket to secure pilgrims undertaking the Amarnath Yatra. Besides thousands of Police and central armed police force (CAPF) men, the Army has been deployed on the outer parameters and higher reaches along the yatra route for the safety of pilgrims. The forces are being helped by drones and CCTV’s to keep round-the- clock surveillance.

The Yatra will end on August 19. Last year, 4.5 lakh pilgrims visited the holy shrine, and this year the authorities are expecting numbers to go up.

UNI

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