Amit Shah extends best wishes to devotees as first batch of pilgrims left for Amarnath


The annual Amarnath Yatra began Thursday as the first batch of pilgrims left the Nunwan base camp in Pahalgam in Jammu and Kahmir's Anantnag district. The pilgrimage was flagged off from the base camp by district deputy commissioner Piyush Singla. Singla said arrangements had been made to ensure smooth conduct of pilgrims and to help them 'feel secure' and visit the shrine peacefully. Drone surveillance and RFID chips are part of three-tier security arrangements for the pilgrims.

Calling the yatra a 'symbol of the glorious tradition of Sanatan culture', union home minister Amit Shah extended his best wishes to all the devotees. "Amarnath Yatra is a symbol of the glorious tradition of Sanatan culture. I extend my best wishes to all devotees going for the darshan of Baba Barfani on this holy journey and wish them a smooth and happy journey. Har Har Mahadev!" he wrote in Hindi on Twitter. The 43-day-long yatra to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, located about 3,880 metres above sea level, begins from two routes - the traditional 48 km Nunwan in south Kashmir's Pahalgam and the shorter 14 km Baltal in central Kashmir's Ganderbal. It is scheduled to end on August 11. The yatra has been opened to the general public after two years. It was cut short as a precautionary measure in 2019 after the centre imposed restrictions following the scrapping of Article 370 and further restrictions were imposed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.

On Wednesday, J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha flagged off the first batch - 4,890 pilgrims - from the Jammu base camp.

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