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  4. Amarnath yatra: Pilgrimage to holy cave shrine in Himalayas begins amid chants and religious fervour

Amarnath yatra: Pilgrimage to holy cave shrine in Himalayas begins amid chants and religious fervour

At the Baltal base camp, a 70-bed fully-equipped DRDO hospital has been set up for quality healthcare services to the pilgrims.

Manzoor Mir Reported By: Manzoor Mir Srinagar Updated on: June 30, 2022 10:22 IST

Highlights

  • 43-day long Amarnath Yatra began today amid chants of 'Har Har Mahadev'
  • All arrangements have been put in place by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board
  • Unprecedented security arrangements have been made to ensure the yatra remains incident-free

Amarnath Yatra 2022: The 43-day long Amarnath Yatra to the holy cave shrine located in south Kashmir Himalayas began today amid chants of 'Har Har Mahadev' from both Baltal and Nunwan base camps in Kashmir valley. Deputy Commissioner Piyush Singla flagged off the first batch of 2,750 pilgrims from the Nunwan base camp in the Anantnag district's Pahalgam.

Pahalgam is the traditional route for the Amarnath Pilgrimage. The first batch going through this route is expected to reach the holy cave shrine by tomorrow. Another batch of pilgrims left for holy cave from base camp Baltal in Sonmarg. Those pilgrims left from Baltal will reach holy cave today afternoon and will pay their obesiance to the holy cave. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha will perform the first ritual at the Holy Cave today morning after which gates of holy cave will be thrown open for pilgrims. All arrangements have been put in place by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) to ensure smooth pilgrimage to the naturally formed ice-lingam at the cave shrine, officials said.

The journey, most of it on foot, takes about three days with night halts at Sheeshnag and Panchtarni along the route. The yatra began with religious fervour after a gap of three years. This year, the pilgrimage is expected to see higher than usual attendance of pilgrims as the Yatra is resuming after a gap of three years. In 2019, the Yatra was curtailed days ahead the abrogation of Article 370. The pilgrimage did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also Read | Amarnath Yatra: Unfazed by looming terror threat, hundreds of pilgrims arrive in Jammu

Foolproof Security 

Unprecedented security arrangements have been made to ensure the yatra remains incident-free. The Jammu and Kashmir administration is also augmenting the efforts of the shrine board by providing foolproof security cover along both the Pahalgam and Baltal routes to the holy cave. Security personnel have been deployed three to four times more in strength for the pilgrimage. The security along both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes has been beefed up and new security pickets have been established to ensure that subversive elements are not able to disrupt the pilgrimage. To ensure only bona fide pilgrims are present at the pilgrimage, the Shrine Board has asked all intending pilgrims to carry Aadhaar cards or any other biometric verified document with them.

Apart from the deployment, drone surveillance and RFID chips are also a part of the three-tier security arrangements for pilgrims. The peaks leading to the holy cave from both the routes -- Pahalgam and Baltal -- have been covered by the security forces. Sanitisation of the routes has been carried out and round-the-clock vigil is being maintained. The pilgrimage would be monitored with the help of CCTVs and drones on both routes.

Online Darshan

Shri Amarnath Shrine Board has also made a provision of online 'darshan' for those who cannot physically undertake the pilgrimage. 

DRDO hospital for pilgrims 

At the Baltal base camp, a 70-bed fully-equipped DRDO hospital has been set up for quality healthcare services to the pilgrims. The hospital, funded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will have X-ray and ultrasound facilities, general and oxygenated wards, OPD, ICU, pharmacy and a laboratory. The health department of the Union Territory administration has also made special arrangements for providing healthcare facilities to the pilgrims. They have stationed 109 basic life support ambulances and 26 advance life support critical care ambulances at 55 locations en route Baltal and Chandanwari routes from Qazigund for the pilgrims.

Swachh Amarnath Yatra

The officials said this year, special focus is on cleanliness and the board aims for a "Swachh Amarnath Yatra". Toilets have been provided all along the routes. 

The pilgrimage will culminate on August 11, coinciding with 'Raksha Bandhan'.

Also Read | Amarnath Yatra: J&K LG Manoj Sinha flags off 1st batch of pilgrims from Jammu base camp

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