Amid tight security, the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims, who started from Jammu on Wednesday morning reached Nunwan Pahalgam base camp in the Anantnag district of South Kashmir.
They were welcomed by locals, PRI Members as well as officers of the District Administration. The Yatra began yesterday from Jammu amid tight security arrangements made by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) along with the army and the local police.
The Amarnath shrine pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, is held from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had cancelled the annual Amarnath pilgrimage due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in 2020 and 2021 after a discussion with Amarnathji Shrine Board members.
Meanwhile, pilgrims expressed their happiness and excitement about the Yatra.
Speaking to ANI, Pankaj Kumar, Amarnath Yatri said, “There is excitement as we have reached here in Pahalgam after two years of the long wait. It is going to be full of fun as the weather is also conducive.”
Another Amarnath Yatri Anuj Sharma said, “The arrangements are very good. We are very happy and are thankful to the administration.”
Security has been tightened in Jammu and Kashmir with special emphasis on the use of over 130 sniffer dogs on the vehicle routes heading towards the shrine to ensure safe pilgrimage amid heightened terror threats.
A top government official, requesting anonymity, told ANI that this is the first time when the security forces have been using a maximum number of sniffer dogs to check the use of explosives by terrorists to disrupt the 43-day annual pilgrimage beginning on June 30.