Poonch: The annual Buddha Amarnath Yatra has commenced, and pilgrims who are taking part in it, said they were overwhelmed by the hospitality and welcome given to them by security personnel.
Mahant Kar Roshandi Pujari told ANI, "I will pray to Mata Bhagwati Jagdamba for the protection of all Indian soldiers. As a pujari of the Dundhak Mata Temple, I pray to Maa Kali for the well being of all people serving in the protection forces."
"People from all over the country have come, including from the states of Punjab, UP, Bihar and Gujarat. I appeal to all to ensure that the yatra progresses peacefully," he added.
A pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh, Dalip Kumar, told ANI, "I would like to express my gratitude to the army for giving the pilgrims such a warm welcome."
A pilgrim from Morbi in Gujarat, Deg Vijant, said, "The army has done a good job. I really appreciate their efforts and pray to god to double their power to serve the country."
The commander of the Sector 6 branch of the Rashtriya Rifles in Surankot-Poonch, Brigadier R. P. Singh told ANI, "This is the ancient temple of Dundhak Mata. People have enormous faith for this. It comes under (the jurisdiction of the) Romeo Force. It is our good fate that we got the chance to serve followers of Baba Buddha Amarnath and Durga Mata. I thank them."
"Like every year, even this time, this yatra has been organised in collaboration with the civil administration and police. We hope that the wishes of people are fulfilled. It is a proud moment because of the way communal unity that has gone into this organization," he added.
The brigadier further said, "The kind of communal harmony that prevails in Poonch is unique."
The yatra started yesterday and will go on till August 10.
More than 2000 pilgrims joined the yatra on first day. The Romeo Force welcomed them and treated them with tea and snacks.
This morning, the pilgrims will visit the Mandi Budha Amarnath Temple.