The 'pratham pujan' which marks the beginning of the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath was held on Wednesday at Panjtarni, on the Pahalgam-cave shrine trek.
"To invoke the blessings of Shri Amarnathji, R K Goyal, chief executive officer of the Amarnath Shrine Board, performed pooja at Panjtarni," an official statement said.
It said that office bearers of Baba Amarnath Yatri Nivas including its president Surinder Mohan Aggarwal participated in the pooja.
Earlier, Goyal, accompanied by other members of the Yatri Nivas flew to Panjtarni from Srinagar [ Images ] in a helicopter and performed pooja on the banks of Panjtarni amidst chanting of Vedic mantras, the statement said.
Goyal also reviewed the ongoing yatra-related works at the Panjtarni camp which are progressing satisfactorily, it added.
He also issued instructions to all concerned to ensure that all the arrangements need to be positioned on ground soon.
It is for the first time after over a century that the pooja was not held at the cave shrine despite an agreement between the Yatri Nivas and the board that the pooja would be held at the shrine following which the Nivas representatives had agreed not to press for beginning of the yatra on June 15 instead of June 29 when it is officially scheduled to begin.