JAMMU, INDIA, June 28, 2017 (The Hindu): The first batch of Amarnath pilgrims left here for the cave shrine in the Kashmir Valley amid extraordinary security arrangements after intelligent inputs cautioned of militant attacks, police said. A total of 2,280 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here for the Himalayan cave shrine in Anantnag district in 72 vehicles at 5:22 a.m., a police official said.
Given the prevailing law and order situation in the valley, a multi-layered security arrangement manned by the Army, CRPF, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have been provided for the safe passage of the yatris right from their entry into Lakhanpur in Kathua district. This year 212,000 yatris have registered for the pilgrimage to the Hindu cave shrine situated nearly 14,000 feet above the sea level. The cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the size of the visible moon. Devotees believe the structure symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva.