All set for Amarnath pilgrimage from June 29 | india | Hindustan Times
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All set for Amarnath pilgrimage from June 29

india Updated: Jun 25, 2011 13:52 IST

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The stage is all set for the annual Amarnath pilgrimage in Kashmir from June 29, with gathering of ascetics and pilgrims in the run-up to the yatra's official beginning.

The first batch of pilgrims will be flagged off from Jammu June 28, and it would reach either of the two base camps -- Baltal or Pahalgam -- the same day.

The next day, June 29, would mark the official beginning of the pilgrimage to the cave shrine devoted to Lord Shiva, located at a height of 13,500 feet above sea level.

"We are prepared for the pilgrimage. All security arrangements have been put in place," Jammu zone Inspector General of Police Dilbag Singh told IANS.

He said the pilgrims would be escorted up to the base camps -- Baltal, 110 km north of Srinagar, and Nunwan, Pahalgam, 94 km south of Srinagar.

The security forces not only provide a protective cover to the pilgrims but also rescue them in case of any eventuality. The pilgrims have to trek high mountain passes and glaciers to reach the shrine.

Chief Executive Officer of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) RK Goyal disclosed that 240,000 pilgrims have registered for the pilgrimage this year.

An on-the-spot registration procedure too has been put in place at the base camps but within the daily limit of 5,000 pilgrims.

Goyal said the pilgrimage will start June 29 with the first "darshan" and prayers at the cave shrine, and it will last until Aug 13.

Last year, nearly half a million pilgrims had visited the shrine.