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June 24, 2012

Amarnath Yatra begins amid tight security in Kashmir

Jammu:The annual Amarnath Yatra began on Sunday amid tight security. State Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora flagged off the Yatra on Sunday morning. Pilgrims undertaking the trek praised the state government for ensuring secure and safety arrangements for the pilgrimage. "We are very happy that we are getting the chance to go in the first batch and the Jammu and Kashmir administration has done good arrangements for us including the security arrangements. We were allotted place for stay as we reached here and we are quite excited that we will be the first one to go in the cave and seek Lord Shiva's blessings," said a pilgrim, Komal Paliwal from Rajasthan. They shared these views at a transit camp set up at Jammu , as the first batch of pilgrims left from the base camp. Jora said this year around 300,000 people had registered for the pilgrimage. "The administration has done all the necessary arrangements. I hope that the pilgrimage would complete smoothly, till now 3.65 lakhs pilgrims have registered. This time we would not allow even a single pilgrim to go without registration as last year, we suffered 100 casualties, and so this time it is a prerequisite to submit their medical certificate while registering," said Jora. The travellers were offered garlands and sweets, and apprised of arrangements made to ensure that their pilgrimage would be comfortable and safe. Thousands of pilgrims undertake the journey to the ice Shivalingam at the Amarnath cave located inside a snow-capped mountain in the Himalayas . The pilgrimage takes place only in the summer months between July and August. Such is the faith of the devout Hindus that despite the harsh environment and inclement weather, record number of pilgrims register for the holy trek, each passing year.

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