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First batch of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to reach Kashmir on Friday

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Shillong, June 27: First batch of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims will be flagged off for Kashmir on Friday from here as this year’s Yatra begins on June 29.

 

Yatris have already started arriving at the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu from where they will leave in escorted conveys for north Kashmir Baltal and south Kashmir Anantnag base camps.

 

Authorities said the first batch of Yatris will leave Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 4 a.m. Friday in an escorted convoy for the Valley and they will have ‘Darshan’ on Saturday.

 

Hundreds of CAPFs have been deputed on Yatra duties for securing the nearly 300 km long Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

 

More CAPF teams are guarding the 85 km long Srinagar-Baltal base Camp Road and also the Qazigund-Pahalgam base Camp Road.

 

Authorities have set up Yatra transit camps at Manigam in Ganderbal district on the Srinagar-Baltal route and another at Mir Bazar on the Qazigund-Pahalgam route.

 

A total of 3.50 lakh Yatris have so far registered for this year’s Amarnath Yatra. And, 125 ‘Langars’ (Community Kitchens) have been set up along the two routes to the Cave Shrine. Over 7,000 Sevadars will be serving the Yatris at these Langars.

 

Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims on both Pahalgam and Baltal routes.

 

This year, 38 mountain rescue teams drawn from NDRF, SDRF, local police, BSF and the CRPF have been deputed for the Yatra.

 

Local porters, Ponywallahs and manual labourers contribute largely to the successful Amarnath Yatra each year.

 

The Nunwan (Pahalgam-Cave shrine) traditional route is 48 km long while the Baltal-Cave shrine route is only 14 km long.

 

Yatris using the traditional Nunwan (Pahalgam-Cave Shrine) route take four days to reach the Cave shrine while those using the shorter Baltal-Cave Shrine route perform the ‘Darshan’ and return to the base camp the same day.

 

The Cave Shrine located 3,888 metres above the sea level houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe that the ice stalagmite structure represents the mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

 

This year’s 52-day long Yatra begins on June 29 and will end on August 19 coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan and Shravan Purnima festivals. (IANS)

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