Amarnath yatra begins

Amarnath yatra begins

Baltal:  The annual Amarnath yatra started on Saturday and the first batch of 7466 pilgrims left for the cave shrine via Baltal base camp in Sonmarg. The pilgrims had arrived at the base camp on Friday evening.

Official sources at Baltal base camp said about 1600 tents have been erected for night stay of yatris at Baltal and Dumail, while 6000 ponies and man carts are ready to carry yatris to the cave.
Community kitchens have been installed by various Hindu trusts and organizations, while 450 makeshift shops have been set up by Kashmiris at the camp.
He said that the number of tents, ponies, shops and mancarts will increase as the yatra picks up pace.
Two private chopper companies fly yatris from Nilgrath helipad of the Baltal base camp to the cave.
From Baltal base camp, it is a 14-km trek through hilly terrain to the cave. It takes about eight hours to and from the cave.
Firdous Qadri, transit camp officer PTS Manigam, Ganderbal, said the Baltal-bound yatra vehicles that reach PTS Manigam transit camp after 9 pm are not being allowed to proceed towards the base camp.
A three-tier security ring comprising police, CRPF, BSF and army, has been put in place along the route.

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