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Amarnath Yatra begins as 14,000 pilgrims visit holy cave on day 1

 Amarnath Yatra begins as 14,000 pilgrims visit holy cave on day 1

Will pray for peace, prosperity of country, say jubilant yatris

Jahangeer Ganaie

Pahalgam, Jun 29 (KNO): Amid tight security arrangements, the Amarnath Yatra 2024 began on Saturday as the first batch of around 14,000 pilgrims visited the holy cave shrine from the base camps in Baltal and Pahalgam.

 “On the first day of Amarnath Yatra, around 14,000 pilgrims paid obeisance at the holy cave (final darshan),” an official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO). He said around 13,827 pilgrims paid obeisance while thousands of others have left Jammu's Bhagwati Nagar-based Yatri Niwas base camp in the last two days.

Hundreds of enthusiastic pilgrims, most of them walking on foot, were seen climbing the mountains to have a glimpse of Lord Shiva at the cave in the Himalayas of Kashmir. The pilgrims, while chanting ‘Bam Bam Bhole’ and ‘Jai Barfani Baba ki’, were seen moving ahead to reach the shrine to pay obeisance. Most of them were walking on foot while some were on horseback. The Amarnath cave is reached through two routes – Nunwan in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam, and Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.

Talking to KNO, the pilgrims hailed the administration for making adequate arrangements for them. Amit, from Maharashtra, who has undertaken the pilgrimage for the fourth time, said he will pray for peace in the country. “Our message to everyone will be that there is no fear and there are the best security arrangements, and those intending can come here without any problem as people here are very helpful,” Amit, who was on his way to Chandanwari, said.

Another pilgrim, Nitin from Uttarakhand, said, “I have been paying obeisance at the cave shrine regularly for the past several years. This year too, I am going to seek peace and prosperity for mankind.”

Suresh from Haryana, while moving through the Baltal route, said the weather is very pleasant and he is enjoying it. “There is no threat at all. Everything has begun well and everything will end well,” he said. He added that they are lucky to be going through the picturesque mountains, water, and forests of Kashmir, the ‘Paradise on Earth’.

Radhika from Madhya Pradesh said she is very excited to be part of the yatra for the very first time.

Officials said that around 3.5 lakh pilgrims have registered so far for the annual Amarnath Yatra. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system, introduced a few years ago for pilgrims, is in place to track their movement en route to ensure their well-being.

"Adequate security has been put in place for the base camps and all routes. Security is a major challenge, but all steps have been taken to ensure a smooth Yatra,” an official told KNO. Yatris everywhere were seen very happy, complimenting the security and other arrangements put in place by the administration—(KNO)

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