"Amarnath yatra began from Jammu today. A batch of 1,280 pilgrims have left from Bhagwati Nagar base camp in Jammu this morning for their onward journey to the 3,888 meters high cave shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir Valley," said Dr Piyush, Yatra officer and Additional Deputy Commissioner Jammu.

The batch comprising 919 men, 191 women, 16 children and 154 sadhus left in a cavalcade of 34 vehicles guarded by heavy contingent of CRPF personnel from the base camp at 5.10 AM, a police officer said. The cavalcade has already crossed Kud in Udhampur district, he added. The yatra was flagged off by Jammu and Kashmir ministers Lal Singh, Sukhnandan Choudhary and Priya Sethi.

They cited that the yatra has begun and all arrangements have been made for comfortable yatra of pilgrims, who have come from various parts of the country to pay obeisance at the cave shrine of Lord Shiva.

The first batch will reach twin base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam for their onward journey to the cave shrine by this evening. A total of 2,04,508 pilgrims had secured advance registration and 22,104 had purchased helicopter tickets from Baltal and Pahalgam to Panjtarni.

Apart from power and water supply, the ration and food supply items are being delivered to all camps while medical camps have been established at five out of six camps. 8,800 ponies have been duly registered of the total 13,000 which are allowed to operate on both routes, an official spokesman said.

See in pics: Amarnath yatra begins amid tight security

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