Amid Tight Security, 5,700 Pilgrims Leave For Amarnath From Jammu

A woman devotee and her daughter smiles before setting off for an arduous journey to the cave shrine of Amarnath through Baltal route in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Thursday. KO Photo, Abid Bhat

Jammu- Second batch of 5,700 pilgrims left from here in a secured convoy to perform pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south of Himalayas amid tight security arrangements.

Chanting ‘Bam Bam Bhole’, the pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in a cavalcade of 230 vehicles early Thursday morning.

The 43-day pilgrimage to the cave shrine will conclude on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

With the 2nd batch, the total number of pilgrims, who have left for the Amarnath cave shrine from Jammu goes up to 10,700, officials said.

Over 5,000 to 6,000 fresh pilgrims have arrived in Jammu from various places across the country for their onward journey to Amarnath, they said.

After on-the spot registeration at three counters and supply of tokens at two counters, they have been lodged in 32 lodging centres and basecamps here, they said.

The annual Amarnath Yatra is being organised after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shrine is situated 3,888 metres above the sea level in Himalayas in Kashmir. It houses an ice stalagmite structure called the Lingam’ that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe the Lingam’ symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

The Yatra commenced on Thursday from the traditional 48-km Nunwan route in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam and the 14-km Baltal route in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.

Over 3.42 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the shrine from July 1 to August 1, 2019, before the government cancelled the pilgrimage midway ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

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