The first batch comprising 1,160 Amarnath yatris was flagged off on Friday by the state tourism minister from Jammu base camp to the holy cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.
“The pilgrims comprising 957 men, 187 women and 16 children was flagged off by the Minister for Tourism Ghulam Ahmad Mir from Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu this morning,” police officials said.
A total of 42 vehicles, including 23 buses and 19 Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) left the yatri niwas at around 5:30 AM today amid tight security, they said, adding that various civil and police officials were present at the occasion.
The cavalcade of pilgrims has already crossed Kud in Udhampur district, they said.
Meanwhile, elaborate arrangements have been made for a safe and secure yatra with sufficient security personnel being deployed on the way to foil any subversive design, officials said.
Besides the checking of vehicles coming into the state at Lakhanpur in Kathua district, a high level watch is being maintained with police forces checking vehicles at different spots across the city, they said.
Reports from Srinagar said that most pilgrims would undertake yatra to the cave shrine through Baltal route as snow clearance operation along Pahalgam to the shrine is underway.
The Amarnath Shrine Board has asked the pilgrims to undertake the journey via Baltal route till snow is cleared at various spots from Pahalgam to Amarnath route.
The shrine board, headed by Governor N N Vohra would again review the opening of Pahalgam cave route on June 30, reports said.
The civic agency had announced the distribution of three LED bulbs to each of its 12,000 employees.