43-days Amarnath Yatra begins
Pilgrimage flagged-off from Baltal, Pahalgam, Helipad Humhama
STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: To mark the auspicious beginning of 43-days long celebration of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday performed the Puja of Baba Barfani and prayed for peace, happiness and prosperity of all.
I have full faith that the devotees traveling from all over the country to seek the divine blessings of Shri Amarnathji will have a safe and memorable pilgrimage, the Lt Governor said.
2nd batch of 5,700 pilgrims leave for Amarnath from Jammu
Jammu: Second batch of 5,700 pilgrims left from here in a secured convoy to perform pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south of Himalayas amid tight security arrangements.
Chanting ‘Bam Bam Bhole’, the pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar base camp in a cavalcade of 230 vehicles early Thursday morning.
The 43-day pilgrimage to the cave shrine will conclude on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
With the 2nd batch, the total number of pilgrims, who have left for the Amarnath cave shrine from Jammu goes up to 10,700, officials said. Over 5,000 to 6,000 fresh pilgrims have arrived in Jammu from various places across the country for their onward journey to Amarnath, they said. After on-the spot registeration at three counters and supply of tokens at two counters, they have been lodged in 32 lodging centres and basecamps here, they said.
The annual Amarnath Yatra is being organised after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shrine is situated 3,888 metres above the sea level in Himalayas in Kashmir. It houses an ice stalagmite structure called the Lingam’ that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe the Lingam’ symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The Yatra commenced on Thursday from the traditional 48-km Nunwan route in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam and the 14-km Baltal route in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal.
Over 3.42 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the shrine from July 1 to August 1, 2019, before the government cancelled the pilgrimage midway ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Expecting a heavy footfall of yatris, the UT government and SASB have made extensive arrangements for Shri Amarnathji Yatra this year.
The devotees can have ‘Darshan’ of the Holy Ice Lingam at the Holy Cave Shrine through live telecast of Morning and Evening Arti through Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board’s website link: http://www.shriamarnathjishrine.com/AartiLive.html or through Shrine Board’s Android based Application which may be downloaded through the link: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ncog.shriamarnath Besides the Board members of SASB, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Nitishwar Kumar, CEO SASB, and Lt General Amardeep Singh Aujla, GOC 15 Corps also participated in the Puja.
In Baltal, Commissioner Secretary Revenue, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri early morning flagged off first batch of pilgrims from Domel-Baltal to holy cave.
District Development Commissioner Ganderbal, Shyambir; SSP Ganderbal, Nikhil Borkar; ADC Ganderbal, Farooq Ahmad Baba; Camp Directors of Baltal and Domel, besides other officials from District administration, police and other security agencies were also present on the occasion.
Along the Baltal route, the first batch had 6823 pilgrims, consisting of 5384 males, 1293 females, 48 children and 98 Sadhus who were flagged off by Commissioner Secretary at around 5 am. The pilgrims were very enthusiastic while embarking their journey towards the Holy Cave.
Pertinently, all the necessary arrangements with regard to the basic amenities, healthcare and security arrangements have been put in place along the track to the Holy Cave for the convenience of the Yatries.
In Pahalgam, Secretary Tribal Affairs (Nodal Officer), Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary and Deputy Commissioner Anantnag (District Yatra Officer), Dr Piyush Singla jointly flagged off the Yatra from Nunwan base camp.
The Deputy Commissioner while told media fraternity at the Nunwan that well tested arrangements are in place to ensure a convenient spiritual experience for the Yatries. He said that sanitation measures are in place for the Yatris and he is confident of a Swach Yatra this year.
The Deputy Commissioner said that Yatris after halting at Nunwan will be taken to Chandanwari in vehicles from where the Yatris will commence their onward journey on foot.
He further gave out that necessary widening of the track, construction of enforcements and installation of safety railings has been completed at all places. He said that the camps at Sheeshnag and Panjtarni are fully functional with adequate sanitation, toilets facilities have been installed in adequate numbers and electricity and water supply have ensured at each location.
The Yatris while interacting with media fraternity said that all kinds of facilities are available for the Yatris. They said that after a comfortable night stay they are ready to commence the trek to the Holy Cave.
The flag off was attended by SSP Anantnag, senior officials of Civil and Police administration, members of the media fraternity and staff members at the Nunwan base camp.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Shahbaz Ahmed Mirza flagged-off the first batch of Amarnathji pilgrims from Helipad Humhama to Holy Cave.
On the occasion, the DC inspected all facilities put up at Helipad Humhama to take stock of preparations and arrangements for Yatries.
While interacting with the pilgrims at Helipad, the DC said that this is for the first time that direct Helicopter service has been made available for AmarnathJi Yatries this year from Srinagar Airport to Holy cave at Anantnag District.
He said that all Nodal Officers have been deputed at Airport and Helipad Humhama to perform the assigned task and ensure better facilities to the pilgrims
“Sufficient staff has been nominated and deputed to Srinagar Airport and Helipad at Humhama for further duties”, said DC.
The DC further exhorted concerned officers to ensure fool- proof entry of Yatries having unique Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for which E-KYC Counters have been set up already.
There shall be a night stay facility available for Yatris also with uninterrupted water and power supply, the DC said.
Taking stock of transportation services, the DC instructed ARTO Budgam to ensure hassle-free transportation of Yatries from Srinagar Airport to Helipad set up at Humhama.
The DC also emphasized on cleanliness and sanitation and in this regard, he exhorted concerned officials from the Municipality to ensure cleanliness throughout the 43 days long yatra.
Among others, ADDC, GM DIC, ACD, Executive Engineer R&B and other engineering wings, District Floriculture Officer and other concerned officers and officials were also present on the occasion