The annual Amarnath yatra started off on Friday from Jammu. The first batch of 1160 yatris, left from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp escorted by security forces. The yatra has been allowed only from the shorter Baltal route till June 30th.
The number of yatris in the first batch was quite low, as it has been deferred from the traditional and longer Phalgam route from June 28th to 30th. Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board- which oversees all the arrangements, decided to defer it from this route because of the heavy accumulation of the snow.
The Sadhus didn't go in the first batch as they take traditional route, from where the Chadri Mubarak is also taken. The yatris will reach Baltal base camp today evening and will start yatra for the holy cave on Saturday. The 14-km Baltal track is considered quite and is advisable for physically fit only.
Many people prefer to take yatra in the first batch itself as the track is clean and Shivlingam of the snow at the holy cave are in full size. It starts melting gradually. Last year about 6,000 yatris had left from the Jammu base camp, and many more had reached directly at the Phalgam base camp.
The board is likely to take a decision on starting yatra from Phalagam route on July 1st. The yatris have to mandatory submit heatlh certificate only from the authorized institutions and doctors. The list is available on the website of the board.