Home India News First batch of pilgrims leaves for Amarnath Yatra

First batch of pilgrims leaves for Amarnath Yatra

Jammu : The first batch of pilgrims, consisting of 1,160 people, Friday left Jammu for the annual yatra to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath.

The Amarnath Yatra to the cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district starts Saturday and will end on August 10, coinciding with Shravan Purnima festival.

State Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir flagged off the convoy carrying the first batch of yatris from here for the Baltal base camp in Ganderbal district.

“A total of 42 vehicles, including 23 buses and 19 light motor vehicles, carrying 1,160 pilgrims left Jammu amid tight security. There are 957 men, 187 women and 19 children among the yatris,” an official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the yatra told IANS here.

Situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the Amarnath cave shrine houses the Holy Lingam, an ice stalagmite structure believed to symbolise Lord Shiva.

For this year’s yatra, 193,000 pilgrims have registered with the SASB.

Due to heavy snow along the traditional Pahalgam route in south Kashmir, the yatra will start Saturday only via the Baltal route in north Kashmir, the official said.

The official said a decision on when to start the yatra from the Pahalgam route would be taken by the SASB on July 1.

Governor N.N. Vohra is the chairman of the SASB. Assisted by a chief executive officer and other staff, the governor is personally supervising the smooth conduct of the yatra.