The first batch of 1,138 pilgrims for this year's Amarnath Yatra that begins from Saturday left Jammu. In the winter capital Jammu, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, minister Priya Sethi and Lok Sabha member Jugal Kishore flagged off the first batch of pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in the wee hours on Friday.
In the first batch, around 900 males, 225 females and 13 children left in 13 buses, 24 mini-buses and other modes of public and private vechiles. The convoy is under the vigil of security forces.
Providing security to Amarnath Yatra is a major challenge for state and central agencies because of the spurt in the violence by militants.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh would arrive in Jammu on today on a two-day visit to review the security situation in the state, especially the security arrangements for this year's Yatra. The Home Minister would also visit the Amarnath Yatra cave shrine on Saturday.
This year's 48-day Yatra would end on August 18 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.