The first batch of pilgrims set off for Amarnath Cave from Baltal base camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal on Saturday to start the annual Amarnath Yatra. Senior members of the Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board and the police, together with Deputy Commissioner of Ganderbal, Shyambir, flagged off the Yatra at the Baltal base camp.
“Today we are sending off the first batch of passengers from here. I wish everyone a happy journey. Passengers are requested to take advantage of all the facilities available to them. Right now there are around 7,000 to 8,000 passengers. Registration is still going on. Our volunteers are everywhere to help,” Shyambir, Deputy Commissioner of Ganderbal said.
The 62-day pilgrimage will culminate on August 31. The pilgrims will undertake a 12-km journey from the base camp to the holy Amarnath cave shrine in the south Kashmir Himalayas located at an altitude of about 13,000 feet.
The first batch of pilgrims reached Baltal base camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal on Friday for Amarnath Yatra 2023. They were received by the district administration at Kali Mata Temple at Tikri in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha flagged off the first batch of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims from the Jammu base camp in the wee hours on Friday.
In preparation for the Yatra, various ‘langar’ committees started their practice on Wednesday, three days in advance, to cater to the pilgrims.
The committees prepared sheds, cooking resources, and other raw materials on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district. A total of 22 langars have been established this year at various points of the highway (NHW-44).
The Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board, took stock of food and lodging of the pilgrims, security, functioning of the Joint Control Room, langer stalls, registration counters, power and water supply, health facilities, sanitation, transportation, deployment of health and sanitation staff, installation of mobile toilets, fire tenders and emergency services on Thursday.
The Lt Governor directed the officials to increase the manpower for health, sanitation and other essential services. He welcomed pilgrims from across the country who have arrived at Yatri Niwas for Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage. During the interaction, the Lt Governor also enquired about the facilities.
Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Jammu informed the Lt Governor that the holding capacity of pilgrims at Samba and Kathua has been increased from the last year and additional buses have been stationed at the key locations of pilgrimage.