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In PHOTOS: Amarnath Yatra begins

Last updated on: June 28, 2011 13:10 IST

Amarnath Yatra begins

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The annual Amarnath yatra began on Tuesday amid tight security as the first batch of 2,096 devotees left Jammu base camp for pilgrimage to the 13,500 meter-high cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas.

With Central Reserve Police Force keeping strict vigil, a cavalcade of 73 vehicles carrying the pilgrims was flagged off by Minister for Tourism and Culture Nawang Rigzin Jora from Amarnath Basecamp at Bagwatinagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu around 5:00 am.

The devotees offered prayers and chanted Lord Shiva slogans like Bum Bum Bolay, Chalo Amarnath, Chalo Ek Saath at the event.

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About 1,369 males, 421 females, 110 children and 196 Sadhus left in 49 buses and 24 Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) for Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in Kashmir valley and their onward journey to the shrine.

"The yatra has begun from here today. The first batch has been flagged off for the cave shrine. All arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the yatra," Jora told media persons.

There is no fear to the yatra and it is going on smoothly, he said after flagging off the event attended by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Pawan Kotwal and IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh.



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Adequate security arrangements have been made in Jammu and along the route to the Amarnath cave shrine for the safety and security of the pilgrims, Singh said.

With paramilitary forces deployed along the highway, the yatra has crossed Udhampur.

The pilgrims are scheduled to have a darshan of the holy ice 'ligum' of Lord Shiva at Amarnath cave on Wednesday.



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As many as 2.30 lakh pilgrims have been registered for the pilgrimage at various centers and online counters across the country.

As part of stringent security measures, Road Opening Parties (ROPS), Quick Reaction Teams (QRTS) and Mobile Rescue Teams (MRTS) have been positioned at several places to deal with any exigencies.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has also launched a reception-cum-yatri assistance center in Jammu to facilitate smooth and easy boarding and lodging of the pilgrims.



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"We have launched reception-cum-yatri assistance center to facilitate smooth and easy boarding and lodging for the pilgrims, besides knowledge of roads and routes," Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Jammu-Samba-Kathua range, Farooq Khan said.

This centre would take care of the devotees lodging at base camp yatri niwas, he said adding that it would also distribute booklets, pamphlets, maps and other material to the pilgrims.

The Amarnath yatra is expected to conclude on August 13, on the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan.



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