Jammu, Jun 17: The first batch of 2500 Amarnath pilgrims began their journey to the holy shrine early this morning amidst tight security. The yatra was flagged off by Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Higher Education, Gulchain Singh Charak in a fleet of 59 buses and 27 light vehicles.
Security forces have been put on a high alert along the entire route of the Amarnath yatra to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. The yatris chanting the slogans of "BAM-VAM-BHOLE" were escorted by personnel of para-military forces as part of three-tier security. The security setup consists of area domination and setting up of mountain posts by Army, deployments of CRPF and mobile patrolling by armed police.
The CRPF has deployed 50 companies comprising 6250 men and officers, while the Army has set up 97 area domination posts in and around the shrine in Lidder valley of south Kashmir Himalayas, besides Pahalgam and along the highway in Anantnag, Ramban and Udhampur districts.
Base camps have also been established at Nunwan near Pahalgam and Chandanwari. Over 150,000 pilgrims registered so far across different centres in the country for the pilgrimage. Every year, a large number of devotees trek the steep, slippery 48-km route to reach the Amarnath cave shrine, which stands at a height of nearly 12,500 feet above sea level.