The first batch of Amarnath pilgrims left for the cave shrine from the base-camp here on Sunday amid tight security and the chanting of hymns, prayers and slogans.
Minister for tourism Nawang Rigzin Jora and Devinder Rana, political advisor to chief minister Omar Abdullah, flagged off the journey.
“The yatra has begun this year. We pray for a peaceful yatra,” Jora told reporters here.
About 350,000 pilgrims have been registered for the yatra, which will conclude on August 2 – the day of Raksha Bandhan.
The first batch, comprising 2,294 pilgrims, includes 241 sadhus. The CRPF has activated its security set-up and deployed 57 companies.
The yatra by foot begins at two places — Pahalgam and Baltal — and it is a 46-km trek to the shrine. An escort team is being provided to the yatra convoy from Jammu to the Baltal and Pahalgam base-camps in the Kashmir valley, apart from highway security.
“As many as 57 security companies have been deployed,” a CRPF officer said. Of these, 12 companies had been put on the job in the Jammu region and 45 in the valley, he said.