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Amarnath Yatra 2023 Begins: First Batch of Pilgrims Flagged Off by Jammu and Kashmir LG

Amarnath Yatra 2023 Begins: First Batch of Pilgrims Flagged Off by Jammu and Kashmir LG

Written by Sanjay Kumar

The much-awaited annual Amarnath Yatra, a sacred pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva in the southern Himalayas of Kashmir, commenced today with great fervor. The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, flagged off the inaugural group of pilgrims from the Bhagwati Nagar camp early in the morning.

Under tight security arrangements, a total of over 3,400 pilgrims embarked on their journey toward the twin base camps in Kashmir. From there, they will continue their spiritual quest toward the revered Amarnath cave shrine situated at an elevation of 3,880 meters.

As the pilgrims embarked on their expedition, they were greeted with warm hospitality from locals and security officials at Chandipur while crossing the Ramban-Banihal stretch. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers provided escort services to ensure the safety of the pilgrims, while the Army and police maintained area control along the highway.

However, earlier today, an unfortunate incident occurred when an escort vehicle in a security convoy skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur. This resulted in injuries to three people, including a deputy superintendent of police. The injured individuals have been promptly admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Anticipating a higher footfall compared to the previous year, Udhampur’s Deputy Commissioner stated that adequate security arrangements and necessary utilities and facilities have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage.

The official commencement of the 62-day pilgrimage will take place from Kashmir on Saturday. Pilgrims will have the option to choose between two routes – the traditional 48-kilometer Nunwan-Pahalgam route in the Anantnag district or the shorter but steeper 14-kilometer Baltal route in the Ganderbal district.

Authorities have reported that approximately 3.5 lakh pilgrims have already registered for the Yatra, and this number is expected to rise. In Jammu, 33 accommodation centers have been established to cater to the needs of the pilgrims. Furthermore, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags will be issued at registration centers, with officials emphasizing their mandatory requirements.

To streamline the registration process, five counters have been set up at specific locations, namely Vaishnavi Dham, Mahajan Sabha, Panchayat Ghar, Geeta Bhawan, and Ram Mandir. These counters will exclusively handle the registration of saints, ensuring the smooth flow of the pilgrimage.

The Amarnath Yatra holds immense religious significance for devotees, who embark on this arduous journey seeking blessings from Lord Shiva. With robust security measures in place, the authorities are committed to providing a safe and peaceful environment for all pilgrims throughout the duration of the pilgrimage.

As the Yatra progresses, millions of devotees from across the country are expected to participate, reaffirming the spiritual and cultural unity of India.

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