Jammu, June 30 (IANS) A first batch of Amarnath Yatris on Sunday left Jammu for the Kashmir Valley, to begin this year’s annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine.
The 45-day long Amarnath Yatra will officially commence from Monday and conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
“The first batch of pilgrims include 1,051 bound for the north Kashmir Baltal base camp and 1,183 to the Pahalgam base camp. The pilgrims comprised 1,839 males, 333 females, 45 sadhus and 17 children,” police sources said here.
“The pilgrims left in security escorted convoys. No opposite movement of traffic will be allowed on the Jammu-Srinagar highway till 3 p.m. today (Sunday) in order to ensure that the pilgrims cross the Jawahar Tunnel without any delay.”
Extraordinary security arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth, violence-free Amarnath Yatra this year.
During his visit to Kashmir last week, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah reviewed the security arrangements.
Situated at 3,888 metres above sea-level, the Amarnath shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises the mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to the devotees.