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Amarnath pilgrimage begins with 3k devotees

Amarnath pilgrimage begins with 3k devotees
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Amid tight security, the first batch of nearly 3,000 pilgrims on Wednesday left the base camp here for the annual 60-day pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas.

Jammu: Amid tight security, the first batch of nearly 3,000 pilgrims on Wednesday left the base camp here for the annual 60-day pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas.

Advisors to the Governor K Vijay Kumar and B B Vyas flagged off a fleet of 107 vehicles and four motorcycles carrying the pilgrims from the heavily-guarded Bhagwati base camp in the City of Temples around 4.30 am. They said all necessary arrangements are in place to ensure a peaceful and smooth yatra. A total of 2,995 pilgrims — 2,334 men, 520 women, 21 children besides 120 sadhus — left for the base camps of Nunwan-Pahalgam in Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal districts, officials said.

They will reach the twin base camps later in the day and would start their onward journey to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine by foot on Thursday, marking the commencement of the pilgrimage. While 1,904 pilgrims have opted for the traditional 36-km route from Pahalgam, 1,091 others are registered for the shortest 12-km route from Baltal.

The pilgrimage is scheduled to conclude on August 26 coinciding with the ‘Raksha Bandhan’ festival. National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana and BJP MLC Vikram Randhawa had also come to welcome the pilgrims in the State.

According to official figures over two lakh pilgrims have so far registered for the yatra. A total of 2.60 lakh pilgrims offered prayers at the shrine last year.

Won’t harm you, Hizb tells yatris
Meanwhile, a new audio, purportedly released by Hizbul Mujahideen, has surfaced assuring Amarnath pilgrims they have nothing to fear as long as they visit Kashmir only to fulfil their religious duties.

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