The 59-day annual Amarnath Yatra started on Wednesday, with the first batch of 1,126 yatris leaving the Jammu base camp early morning in 34 vehicles amid tight security arrangements. 2.04 lakh yatris have registered themselves so far.
Over 70 para-military companies, along with the state police and Army, have been deployed for security. Since the route to the cave, situated at 13,000 feet, is slippery in many places, 19 mountain and avalanche rescue teams have also been deployed.
Security arrangements were reviewed by the state home secretary ahead of the visit of Union home minister Rajnath Singh, who will have a darshan on Thursday.
“The administration is fully geared up to provide security and all other facilities to the yatris at the base camp and en route. Although they should also be prepared to face rough weather,” said J&K cabinet minister Sukhnandan Chowdhary. The pilgrims can undertake the journey after submitting a verified medical certificate — only those in the age group 13-75 are allowed.
Meanwhile, incessant rains in Uttarakhand over the last 24 hours led to a blockage of roads in Garhwal hills, which halted pilgrimages to Badrinath and Hemkunt Sahib. The state’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre (DMMC) said, the pilgrims are safe and putting up in hotels and lodges.