Kounsarnag pilgrimage to start from July 24

Kounsarnag pilgrimage to start from July 24
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Jammu: From July 24, hundreds of pilgrims will undertake a 6-day long pilgrimage through serpentine mountain tracks to the Kashmir’s high altitude Kounsarnag lake, which devotees associate with Lord Vishnu.
The pilgrimage to Kounsarnag will begin from July 24, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Reasi, Ravinder Kumar said.
The ‘holy’ Kounsarnag lake is situated in the Kulgam district of south Kashmir and the annual journey starts in July from the Reasi district in Jammu region.
Kumar said the pilgrims, after stay at base camp of the ‘yatra’ at village Harshu in Mahore tehsil of Reasi district, would proceed for Kounsarnag and pay obeisance July 30, the day on which ‘Nag Panchmi’ is observed.
The Army and other security agencies will ensure area deployment and security for an incident-free pilgrimage to the shrine, he said.
The DC said that efforts would be made to promote Kounsarnaag as a major pilgrim tourist destination.
For the purpose, he asked the Tourism Department to chalk out a strategy to give wide publicity to the pilgrimage. This should be done by erecting hoarding at prominent locations, to attract the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims, he suggested.
In July 2014, a controversy had erupted when a group of Kashmiri Pandits asked the state government to allow them to proceed for the annual yatra from the Kashmir valley side as well.
This led to protests in the valley, especially in the Kulgam district against the conduct of the yatra.
For the past ten years, the yatra is being undertaken from Reasi side.
Kounsarnag is surrounded by peaks on all sides and is over 4000 metres above sea level.
Many adventure lovers also trek to Kounsarnag which is second largest high altitude lake in the valley with an area of 110 hectares.

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