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Updated: March 28, 2010 16:06 IST

Arrangements for upcoming Amarnath yatra begin in J&K

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A file picture of devotees passing through the Baltal base camp on their way to Amarnath Cave shrine. Photo: Nissar Ahmad.
The Hindu A file picture of devotees passing through the Baltal base camp on their way to Amarnath Cave shrine. Photo: Nissar Ahmad.

With intelligence inputs suggesting spurt in militant activities in coming months, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have started making arrangements for the upcoming two—month pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre—high cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir.

Lakhs of devotees from across the country are expected to join the annual pilgrimage, scheduled to commence in June, notwithstanding the threat posed by militants.

Militants, though, have not carried out any attack on the pilgrims whose numbers have been increasing with each passing year.

Last year, nearly five lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine, housing the naturally formed ice-Shivlingam.

Governor N. N. Vohra, who heads the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) which manages the yatra, on Saturday undertook an aerial reconnaissance of the two routes to the shrine via the shortest 18-km Baltal-cave and the traditional 46-km Pahalgam-Chandwari axis.

Mr. Vohra undertook the reconnaissance of the two routes to assess the status of snow accumulation and the measures required to be taken for timely putting in place all the arrangements for the upcoming yatra, an official spokesman said on Sunday.

At Pahalgam, 100 kms from here which is the traditional base camp for the yatra, the Governor held discussions with senior officials about various matters relating to the yatra via the Chandanwari axis, the spokesman said.

The visit of Governor came barely two days after he was briefed by the General Officer Commanding of Srinagar based 15th Corps Lt Gen N. C. Marwah at the Raj Bhavan here.

Mr. Marwah called on the Governor on March 25 and gave a detailed briefing to him about internal and external situation in the valley.

A three-tier security arrangement is usually put in place every year all along Jammu-cave shrine route to ensure a trouble-free yatra.

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