In Photos: Amarnath Yatra Begins Amidst Multi-Tier Security Grid
The annual pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre high Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir officially kicked off on Monday, 1 July, amid high security.
The first batch of pilgrims left for the shrine early Monday morning with over 40,000 security personnel deployed for the pilgrimage season.
Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so far registered themselves for the 46-day-long Yatra, which takes place on the traditional 36-km Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
The yatra is is scheduled to conclude on 15 August coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.
Extraordinary security arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth, violence-free Amarnath Yatra this year.
Advisors to the Governor KK Sharma flagged off the first convoy of 93 vehicles including three motorcycles, carrying the pilgrims, at the heavily-guarded Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for Kashmir in the early hours, asserting that all necessary arrangements are in place to ensure peaceful and smooth yatra.
A total of 2,234 pilgrims, including 17 children, left for the base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam and Baltal, the officials said.
While 1,228 pilgrims including 130 women, seven children and 45 seers preferred the traditional Pahalgam route, 1,006 devotees including 203 women and 10 children and are undertaking the yatra from Baltal side.