Srinagar, July 2 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The annual Amarnath Yatra started on Thursday as over 8,000 pilgrims left from two base camps in Kashmir for the Himalayan cave shrine.
An official spokesman told IANS that Vohra and Rajnath Singh on Thursday attended the traditional Pratham Puja heralding the beginning of the Amarnath Yatra.
Vohra is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the annual Hindu yatra.
“Governor N.N. Vohra and the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh flew in a helicopter to the Amarnath cave shrine in the morning. Vohra and Singh prayed for peace and prosperity of the country and the state,” the official said.
The 59-day annual Hindu pilgrimage started from both north Kashmir’s Baltal and south Kashmir’s Pahalgam routes on Thursday.
As many as 6,065 pilgrims left the Baltal base camp in Ganderbal district on Thursday morning, while another 2,330 left from the Nunwan base camp near Pahalgam to begin their trek towards the holy cave, a senior police officer told IANS here.
The two-month long Amarnath Yatra will conclude on August 29 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.
The Himalayan cave shrine situated 14,500 feet above the sea level houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
Hindus believe the stalagmite structure called the ‘Lingam’ symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
Police, paramilitary forces and the army have been deployed to provide security to the pilgrims.