Jammu: The annual Amarnath yatra began here on Tuesday, amid religious fervour and under CRPF security blanket. It was flagged off by Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Higher Education Gulchain Singh Charak.
The yatra started from the newly constructed Amarnath Yatri Bhawan at Bagwati Nagar area of the city at 5 a.m.
In the first batch, 2,837 pilgrims left in 59 buses and 29 light motor vehicles. Mr. Charak told journalists: “We have taken steps to ensure a secure and comfortable pilgrimage for people coming from various parts of the country.” Security is tight in and around the routes of the yatra. Fifty paramilitary companies comprising 6,250 men and officers have been deployed. The Army has set up 97 area domination posts.
There are two routes for the pilgrimage — Anantnag route and Baltal route. The Anantnag route takes three days to cover while the Baltal route is quicker but is more arduous.