Ist batch of pilgrims, including Guv, offer 'puja' at Amarnath

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Amarnath Cave, Jun 18 (UNI) The first batch of pilgrims, including a good number of 'sadhus', women and children, besides Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt General (Retd) S K Sinha today paid obeisance at the holy Amarnath cave shrine amid chanting of religious hymns, marking the commencement of the two-month-long pilgrimage.

As the 'puja' progressed in the cave situated at 3,888 metres, devotees queuing since wee hours kept chanting 'Bum Bum Bhole'.

The atmosphere reverberated with 'Har Har Mahadev', as devotees stepped forward on the 12 km track from the Baltal base camp, the shortest route to the Holy Cave.

In 'Garbh Grah' (sanctum sanctorum), the fully formed magnificient Shivlingam presented a unique sight quenching the spiritual thirst of devotees.

However, this time the Amarnath Shrine Board has devised a mechanism to enable 'darshan' from the second grill raised before the Bhavan for longevity of the Holy lingam.

General Sinha prayed for peace and tranquility of the country and the state and hoped that Jammu and Kashmir will continue traversing on the path of progress and prosperity.

The Governor, also the shrine board's chairperson, urged the pilgrims to perform 'yatra' in a regulated manner.

''This is for their safety, as in case of bad weather the board may not be in a position to take full care of devotees,'' he added.

UNI BAS ATI ND1836

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