The annual Amarnath Yatra that was scheduled to begin on Thursday morning was stalled because of heavy rainfall in parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The Yatris, who arrived at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps on Wednesday, have been asked to stay in their camps, The Indian Express reported.
The India Meteorological Department on Wednesday predicted moderate rainfall with thunder showers in Jammu and Kashmir till Thursday. It said some regions in the state will have cloudy weather for at least two days. Authorities have set up joint control rooms at Pahalgam and Baltal, reported the Greater Kashmir. A weather advisory will be issued every three hours by the Met department.
“Yatra control rooms have been established in Nunwan and Baltal base camp and the pilgrims will only be allowed to proceed towards the cave shrine after obtaining the latest weather update from the meteorological stations set up at the base camps,” an unidentified official told the Greater Kashmir. Over two lakh people have registered to undertake the pilgrimage to the 3,880-metre high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir.
A total of 1,904 pilgrims including 330 women and 30 children are part of the first batch, PTI reported. The pilgrimage will take place between June 28 and August 26. Authorities have heightened security measures this year after at least eight people were killed and 17 injured in an attack on a bus carrying Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in July 2017. Vehicles have been tagged with electromagnetic chips, while bike and bullet proof police convoys have been deployed to provide security blanked to pilgrims.
Central Reserve Police Force personnel will sweep the route of the pilgrimage against possible improvised explosive device threats to convoys. All the vehicles part of the yatra have been tagged using radio frequency identification tags and will be monitored at a control room.
A number of CCTV cameras have been set up and drones have been deployed along the route.