Amarnath Yatra Begins From Baltal Route
28 June 2014
: Amid tight security arrangements, the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir Himalayas, started from Baltal route in Ganderbal district on Saturday, with 7900 pilgrims leaving for the holy cave shrine on the inaugural day. Officials said the pilgrims, who had reached Baltal base camp on Friday evening, started the arduous 16-km journey to the cave shrine on Saturday morning while chanting hymns and religious slogans. Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra, who is also the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), alongwith his wife were the first to pay obeisance at the holy cave. They also participated in the 'pooja ceremony', official said. Vohra prayed for sustained peace, harmony, progress and prosperity in the state.The yatra was also scheduled to commence from the traditional 45-km Pahalgam route in Anantnag district on Saturday but was deferred due to non-clearance of snow along the track. Meanwhile, on the very first day of the 44-day yatra, a pilgrim from Maharashtra died of cardiac arrest near Railpathri, Balatal, police said. The deceased has been identified as Sunil Dhurmani.