Amarnath Yatra: Amid tight security, first batch of pilgrims reach Baltal

Published on Jun 30, 2022 03:45 AM IST
Amid tight security first batch of yatris reached Baltal on Wednesday, one of the base camps for the Amarnath Yatra, as the pilgrims will have a night halt at the camp. On Thursday morning they will be leaving for the holy cave.
Pilgrims at the Baltal base camp before proceeding to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, in Baltal on Wednesday. (AFP)
Pilgrims at the Baltal base camp before proceeding to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath, in Baltal on Wednesday. (AFP)
ByMir Ehsan, Baltal

Amid tight security first batch of yatris reached Baltal on Wednesday, one of the base camps for the Amarnath Yatra, as the pilgrims will have a night halt at the camp. On Thursday morning they will be leaving for the holy cave.

Right from Srinagar to the Baltal base camp, high-level security arrangements were in place and checking of civilians and other vehicles was being done at many places. On the main highway leading to Baltal, security personnel were not allowing any vehicle to stop. At sensitive spots, bulletproof bunker vehicles were keeping vigil on the yatra route.

Though most of the pilgrims reached the base camp in a convoy of vehicles that were heavily guarded, many yatris came in taxis under security escorts. At several places, documents were checked thoroughly.

Every year the annual Amarnath yatra is taken from two routes via Baltal in Ganderbal and Pahalgam in Anantnag district.

“All the yatris will have a night halt at makeshift tents in the base camp and tomorrow in the early hours they will leave for the holy cave which is an uphill trek of 14 km from the base camp and the first batch of yatris is expecting to have darshan at the cave in the afternoon. Usually, it takes five to eight hours of trekking to reach the cave via Baltal as the trek passes through lush green forests and streams,” said an officer deployed at the base camp.

The occasional cool breeze blowing through the base camp gave relief to the pilgrims after a hectic journey. Some pilgrims were busy chanting hymns.

Most of the pilgrims who had come from different parts of the country looked ecstatic. After two years of the pandemic, this year the annual Amarnath Yatra is being held. “I have been coming for the yatra for the last 25 years. I couldn’t undertake this yatra for two years due to Covid but now I am eagerly waiting for the moment when I will be able to perform darshan at the holy cave tomorrow,” said Prasad Thakur who had come from Mumbai along with his brother-in-law Vibhav Sikar. “There is a tight security arrangement this time. We left Srinagar camp in the morning and were stopped at more than half a dozen places for checking,” he said.

Apart from local police, the CRPF, SSB and the Army has been deployed at various places. On the national highway at several places, big billboards were erected by the forces and different departments for welcoming the yatris. NGOs have put up langars on the yatra route.

Officials privy to details said this year around 50,000 security force personnel have been deployed for the smooth conduct of the yatra. And due to apprehensions of militant threats, foolproof security arrangements with the help of the latest gadgets are in place for the safety of yatris.

Rajesh Kandu and his friend Pawan Khatri, pilgrims from Delhi, reached the base camp in the afternoon. They said for this pilgrimage they are ready to face any hardship. “Hopefully, we will be having darshan at the coly cave in the morning. This time stricter security arrangements are in place. Though we faced problems, for darshan we are ready to face them,” said Kandu.

Like previous years, this time also locals have been on the forefront in arranging tents, ponies or running small kiosks to help yatris from various states at the base camp. “I have pitched tents for yatris and will remain here till the yatra ends. Today, I have five pilgrims who are staying in my tent. I charge them a meagre amount and try to make their stay safe,” said Abdul Ahad from neighbouring Kangan. Former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the yatris.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The accused caught on CCTV cameras near the PNB branch in Mullanpur Dakha (HT Photo)

    Gone in 4 minutes: 5 men rob 13 lakh from unguarded PNB branch in Mullanpur Dakha

    Five armed robbers struck at Punjab National Bank's branch in Detwal village of Mullanpur Dakha on Thursday evening and fled with Rs 13 lakh cash within four minutes. The robbers faced no resistance as the bank had no security guard. At the time, five bank employees were present in the bank. According to bank staff, two of the robbers flashed guns, while one held out a sharp-edged weapon.

  • The state government has issued clear instructions that Tricolours should be made available at PDS centres for the convenience of the public. (Representative Image/HT File)

    No one can be ‘forced’ to buy Tricolour: Haryana CM Khattar

    Reacting to the controversy that erupted after a fair-price shop in Karnal district was found forcing customers to purchase national flags (priced at ₹20 each) before providing them ration under the public distribution system, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar clarified that no one can force ration-card holders to buy the Tricolour. “No person will be denied any service if he does not wish to purchase the national flag,” the CM said in a statement.

  • The leader of the opposition said BJP and JJP MLAs had themselves complained about the corruption prevalent in the state during the monsoon session of the state assembly. (HT PHOTO)

    By complaining about corruption, ruling alliance MLAs have exposed govt: Hooda

    Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday said legislators of the ruling BJP-JJP alliance were themselves displeased with the prevailing state of affairs. “The MLAs of the coalition have exposed their government,” Hooda said. The Congress leader said, “The government has constituted several special investigation teams (SITs) to probe the many scams unearthed in the state, but the SITs' reports never see the light of the day.”

  • As per the state animal husbandry and dairying department 7,182 cattle have been contracted lumpy skin disease in Haryana. (HT File)

    Lumpy skin disease outbreak: Non-availability of vaccine rattles cattle owners in Haryana

    Amid the outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) among bovines, the non-availability of goat pox vaccine and scarcity of government-appointed veterinarians has left farmers high and dry, forcing them to approach private veterinary clinics that charge an exorbitant fee for their services. “The administration has failed to vaccinate animals or spray disinfectants,” said Ramesh Kumar of Bhiwani, whose herd has not contracted the infection so far as he regularly disinfects the shed.

  • The vacant posts at the HSNCB headquarters include 21 of 67 sanctioned posts of police staff, seven posts out of 15 sanctioned posts of head constables, and nine posts of constable drivers of the 10 sanctioned posts. (HT File)

    Haryana’s drive against drug menace short staffed with 47% sanctioned posts lying vacant in NCB

    The Haryana State Narcotics Control Bureau has been spearheading the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP-JJP government's fight against drug trafficking with just 53% of its workforce, while grappling with acute staff shortage in field units. Till July 15, 380 posts were sanctioned in the HSNCB, of which 178 (47%) are vacant. At least 84% posts of ministerial staff are also vacant at the HSNCB headquarters.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, August 12, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now