Day 1: Rains Delay Yatra, 2nd Batch Departs Jammu

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All Security Arrangements Made;No Cause For Worry: Vohra

JAMMU — The second batch of nearly 3,500 pilgrims, including 592 women and 160 Sadhus, today left from here for the base camps in the Kashmir Valley to undertake the arduous yatra to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine of Amarnath.

The 60-day annual pilgrimage was scheduled to start from the twin routes of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Baltal in Ganderbal district this morning but got delayed due to heavy rains.

Wide parts of Jammu and Kashmir were lashed by light to heavy rains since last evening, also triggering a landslide on Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Peera. However, timely action by the concerned authorities made the road traffic worthy.

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After getting road clearance, the second batch of 3,434 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for Kashmir in the early hours, officials said, adding they are expected to reach the base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal in the valley later in the day.

They said while 2,638 pilgrims, including 449 women, two children and 160 Sadhus, opted for the traditional 36-km Pahalgam route, 796 pilgrims, including 143 women and a child, chose the 12-km shortest Baltal route.

The pilgrims left Jammu in a fleet of 114 heavy and light motor vehicles under tight security arrangements, taking the number of pilgrims who left for the valley from the base camp here since yesterday to 6,429.

Over two lakh pilgrims have so far registered for the yatra which is scheduled to conclude on August 26 coinciding with the ‘Raksha Bandhan’ festival.

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Meanwhile, Governor N N Vohra, today said all arrangements have been made for the security of two-month-long pilgrimage and there is no cause for any worry.

Vohra’s comments came amidst “biggest-ever” security blanket thrown to secure pilgrims undertaking the Amarnath pilgrimage which began today.

“I want to give a message and assurance that all security arrangements have been made for Amarnath Yatra. There is no cause for worry for the pilgrims,” he told PTI after offering prayers at the cave shrine here, located at an altitude of 12,756 feet.

Vohra was among the first pilgrims to offer prayers at the shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Governor also said that due to the inclement weather, the pilgrimage has been suspended temporarily and it would be resumed once the weather situation improves  (PTI)

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