Day 1 to Amarnath shrine on Monday witnessed more than 8,000 pilgrims from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes amid tight security arrangements. After 46 days the annual religious event is to conclude on August 15, which will coincide with Raksha Bandhan this year.
The first batch of pilgrims flagged off on Sunday from Jammu. The second batch of 4,417 pilgrims left in a fleet of 142 vehicles from Bhagwati Nagar base camp.
Governor Satya Pal Malik participated in the first prayer. He prayed for peace in Jammu and Kashmir state.
Malik is the chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board too. He was accompanied by the chief executive officer of the shrine board Umang Narula, who too prayed for peace, progress, prosperity and harmony in J&K.
After the puja, Malik said round the clock supervision and monitoring of the pilgrims and vehicles are in effect by the camp directors to ensure smooth conduct.
He lauded local Kashmiri people for making the event successful and described their role as the true essence of Kashmiriyat.
Officials said a robust security cover has been arranged for the pilgrims to the holy cave and it includes satellite as well as chip-based tracking of people and vehicles.
Until now more than 15 lakh pilgrims have registered for the pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Amarnath, which is about 36 km from Pahalgam and 14 km from Baltal.
CRPF inspector general of Jammu, A V Chauhan, said Sunday necessary security arrangements are in place.