For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

LG flags off first batch of 4603 Amarnath Yatris from Jammu

All necessary arrangements made amid enhanced security: LG Sinha
06:51 AM Jun 29, 2024 IST | SHUCHISMITA
lg flags off first batch of 4603 amarnath yatris from jammu
Photo: Mir Imran/ GK

Jammu, June 28:  Amid unprecedented security arrangements and chants of “Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Bam Bam Bholay’ by exuberant devotees, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Friday flagged off the first batch of 4603 pilgrims of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra (SANJY)- 2024 from Yatri Niwas, Bhagwati Nagar base camp here.


Chanting of Vedic hymns preceded the flagging off ceremony of a convoy consisting of 231 vehicles, out of which 115 headed towards Baltal and 116 headed towards Pahalgam for pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine in South Kashmir.


The annual pilgrimage will begin tomorrow morning and will culminate on August 19, 2024.  First batch of pilgrims comprised 3632 males, 711 females, nine children, 237 Sadhus and 15 Sadhvis.


Senior BJP leader Devender Rana, former Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) Mayor Rajinder Sharma, Director General of Police R R Swain, Additional Director General of Police Jammu zone Anand Jain too accompanied LG Sinha during the flagging off ceremony.


Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar and Deputy Commissioner Jammu Sachin Kumar Vaishya too were present on the occasion.


Before flagging off the first batch of pilgrims at around 5.15 am, Lieutenant Governor performed Puja at the temple. Religious fervour and spirituality pervaded the air. LG Sinha also extended his best wishes to all the pilgrims for a safe, blessed, and spiritually enriching journey.


“May the blessings of Baba Amarnath Ji bring peace, happiness and prosperity to everyone's life,” the Lieutenant Governor said.


Later while speaking to the media, he said, “First batch of pilgrims has embarked on holy pilgrimage from Jammu. In the past three to four years, we have made a lot of efforts to enhance facilities for the pilgrims. This time also the J&K administration has made all the desired arrangements; safety measures have also been enhanced by bolstering the security grid.”

Yatra convoy passed by, security personnel, including sharp-shooters remained deployed all across sensitive locations.

Eminent spiritual leaders; heads of religious organizations; public representatives; senior officers of civil administration, Police, Security Forces and Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board, prominent citizens, and devotees in large numbers were present on the occasion.

Devender Rana, speaking to the media, hoped that Yatra would bring happiness and peace for all. “I hope that it will be a cherishing experience for all,” he said.

Before embarking on pilgrimage, a pilgrim from Barmer Rajasthan stated that this was his eighth consecutive pilgrimage. Expressing his satisfaction over the preparations made by the J&K administration, he said, “J&K government has made excellent arrangements, be it in terms of lodgements, registration, provision of other amenities for the pilgrims or security. We are fully satisfied. All the wings of civil and police administration are extending full cooperation. Local people too are very cordial, hospitable and helpful. I would definitely ask devotees across the country to come to pay obeisance to Bhole Nath (Lord Shiva) in a large number, without any fear or apprehensions.”

Woman pilgrim Santosh Kumari accompanying him too echoed similar sentiments. “For me, this is my first visit. Positive ambience has enthused all the devotees. I’m surprised to see seamless arrangements made for pilgrims here. This has encouraged all of us to come again and again,” she said, while lauding the facilities for pilgrims.

Another pilgrim Piyush Pandey from Delhi said, “This is for the first time that I’ve come to pay obeisance to Baba Amarnath. I’m feeling great. There is not even a trace of fear or any negative feeling.”

A group of 32 pilgrims from Delhi, on the pilgrimage for the fourth time, came out with a mirthful reply to the scribes, who posed queries about arrangements and security concerns. “Sir, ask us – How's Josh? We would say- High, Sir! We are simply impressed by the arrangements made to facilitate pilgrims. It’s magnificent. We find improvement during every visit,” they responded, smilingly and chanting religious slogans.

“No, we don’t have security concerns. We trust our government and our security forces. It has been a seamless and pleasant experience so far and we hope that our pilgrimage will be blissful,” they added.

A pilgrim from Satna in Madhya Pradesh stated that the ubiquitous presence of police and security forces was reassuring for all pilgrims.

Female pilgrims from Mumbai, too, were exuberant, embarking on the pilgrimage for the first time.

Another delegation of 40 pilgrims from Jharkhand was on the pilgrimage for the eighth time. “To be part of the first batch of pilgrims is a surreal feeling. I cannot describe it in words. May Baba Bholenath bless us all, our country and its all citizens. We will pray there,” members of this delegation stated.

Unprecedented security measures for Yatra have been made this year in the backdrop of recent spate of terror attacks, targeting even innocent persons and pilgrims. Layered security, surveillance using advanced technology, mandatory RFID cards for pilgrims are there to ensure peaceful, incident-free Yatra.