Amarnath Yatra: Pilgrims depart from twin base camps, second batch from Jammu

The journey, flagged off by officials amidst tight security, marks the beginning of a 52-day pilgrimage to end on 19 August

First batch of pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra arrives amid tight security, at Baltal (photo: PTI)
First batch of pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra arrives amid tight security, at Baltal (photo: PTI)


The annual Amarnath Yatra began on Saturday, 29 June as the first batch of pilgrims left the twin base camps in Baltal and Nunwan to start their journey to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas, officials said.

The yatra started early morning from the twin tracks -- the traditional 48-kilometre Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and the 14-kilometre shorter but steeper Baltal route in Ganderbal.

The officials said the pilgrims on the twin routes were flagged off by the respective deputy commissioners along with senior police and civil administration officials.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had flagged off the first batch of 4,603 pilgrims from the Yatri Niwas base camp in Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu on Friday, 28 June.

The pilgrims reached the Kashmir Valley in the afternoon and received a rousing welcome from the administration and locals.

They will pay obeisance at the cave shrine, which houses the naturally ice-lingam formation.

Stringent security arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the yatra.

Thousands of security personnel from the police, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and other paramilitary forces have been deployed to ensure security. Aerial surveillance will also be carried out.

The 52-day pilgrimage will conclude on 19 August.

Meanwhile, the second batch of 1,881 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp amid tight security on Saturday, officials said.

The second batch, which included 427 women and 294 seers, left in 200 vehicles in two separate convoys escorted by security forces, the officials said.

While the first convoy carrying 1,069 devotees to Baltal left at 4 am, the second with 812 pilgrims started its journey to Pahalgam 30 minutes later.

More than 4.5 lakh pilgrims paid their obeisance at the cave shrine last year.

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