India

First batch of 4,890 pilgrims leaves for Amarnath yatra

Pilgrims arrive at Bhagwati Nagar base camp, ahead of the commencement of the Amarnath Yatra 2022, in Jammu, on June 28, 2022.

Pilgrims arrive at Bhagwati Nagar base camp, ahead of the commencement of the Amarnath Yatra 2022, in Jammu, on June 28, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The first batch of 4,890 pilgrims was flagged off from Jammu towards the Kashmir Valley for the Amarnath cave shrine by Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday, as the yatra will be officially thrown open for pilgrimage on June 30.

Chanting Vedic mantras, the pilgrims left for the Valley at around 4 a.m. from the Bhagwati Nagar-base camp for the Kashmir Valley in a cavalcade of 176 light and heavy vehicles.

The Lt. Governor prayed for peace, prosperity and a safe spiritual journey for pilgrims on the occasion.

The Amarnath yatra was cut short in 2019 ahead of the Centre’s decision to end Jammu & Kashmir’s special Constitutional position. The yatra remained suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government expects the highest footfall in Kashmir this year. Security has been heightened across the Valley. Over 80,000 additional troops will be manning the routes in central and south Kashmir up to the cave shrine.  

Drones and closed-circuit cameras will maintain a round-the-clock vigil of the areas where pilgrims will be staying. All pilgrims will be tracked through the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. At least 35,000 labourers will participate in the pilgrimage.

For the first time, a helicopter service from the Srinagar airport will help pilgrims to have ‘darshan’ in a day. 

J&K's regional parties, including the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have welcomed the pilgrims and asked people to ensure their security and safety.

"The Yatra has resumed after two years and I am sure that Kashmiris will welcome them wholeheartedly as always. Despite stringent security measures, including shutting down of shops en route the Yatra, it's we Kashmiris who provide a real sense of security to the yatris," PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said

NC leader Shafqat Watali said the yatris embarking on this spiritual journey are "our valued guests". "Standing true to Kashmiri traditions, let us all welcome them. Besides facilitating the pilgrimage and rendering a helping hand, we must provide a sense of security to the yatris," Mr. Watali said.

Senior BJP leader Devender Singh Rana described the yatra as "a shining symbol of India’s intangible cultural heritage and civilization".

"The pilgrims from across the country and abroad will attain spiritual bliss on the Kashmir Himalayas and carry back the cherished memories of warmth and hospitality of the land of rishis and saints," he said.


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Printable version | Jul 23, 2022 10:27:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amarnath-yatra-unfazed-by-looming-terror-threat-hundreds-of-pilgrims-arrive-in-jammu/article65577724.ece