Jammu and Kashmir’s Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha on Friday flagged off the first batch of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims from Jammu city.
The first batch comprising around 3,300 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas. In 159 escorted vehicles for the Baltal and Pahalgam base camps in the Kashmir Valley.
The 62-day long Amarnath Yatra will begin on Saturday and will end on August 31 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
Amarnath Temple is a Hindu shrine located in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. A cave situated at an altitude of 3,888 m, about 168 km from Anantnag city, the district headquarters, 141 km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, reached through either Sonamarg or Pahalgam.
There are two routes to approach the cave shrine, the shorter 13 km-long Baltal route. In Ganderbal district and the longer 43 km Pahalgam route in Anantnag.
Those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day, while those taking the traditional Pahalgam route take three to five days to just reach the shrine.
Situated at an elevation of 3,888 metres above sea level, the cave shrine houses. An ice stalagmite structure called the holy ‘Lingam’ which symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to the devotees.
The ice stalagmite structure wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.
Foolproof three-tier security is being managed. By the army, paramilitary forces and the local police to ensure that the Yatra passes off peacefully.
To prevent deaths due to high altitude sickness, authorities have declared. The Amarnath Yatra 2023 tobacco free and also advised various community kitchens. Called ‘Langars’ run along the two routes not to serve any junk food or halwai items to the pilgrims.
Bottled cold drinks have also been banned.