As the annual Amarnath Yatra is scheduled to culminate on August 7, on the eve of ‘Rakha Bandhan’, the Charri Mubarak or the holy mace of Lord Shiva Saturday left Chandanwari for Sheshnag on way to holy Amarnath cave shrine on the occasion of ” tryodashi”.
After pujan and other rituals, the devotees led by Mahant Deependra Giri, left Chandanwari for Sheshnag this morning. The Chhari had reached Chandanwari yesterday afternoon from Pahalgam where it had reached from Srinagar after having pujan at several places on way on August 2 evening.
“On Chaturdashi tomorrow, Chhari will leave from Sheshnag from 0700 hrs for a night halt at Panchtarni,” Mahant Deependra Giri said.
He said on ‘Raksha Bandhan” on August 7 ” Sharavan Purnima”, the Chhari will proceed for the holy Cave for Punjan at 0700 hrs from Panchtarni.
Traditional rituals shall be performed and prayers offered the whole day at the shrine. However, before dusk, Chhari-Mubarak shall leave for night halt at Panchtarani, he said, adding that from there charri will leave for night halt at Pahalgam at 0700 hrs on August 8.
On August 9 ‘Dvitiya Pujan’ and ‘Visarjan’ ceremonies shall be performed at 0915 hrs on the bank of river Lidder at Pahalgam. Thereafter, traditional ‘Kari-Pakouri’ Bhandara shall be organized for Sadhus. With this last ritual, annual pilgrimage of Swami Amarnath Ji shall culminate. Chhari-Mubarak shall return to its Abode Ameshwar temple Desknami Akahtar at Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the last batch of 52 pilgrims left Jammu today for the Kashmir Valley to perform this year’s Amarnath Yatra which ends on August 7, officials said.
“The Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas at 2.55 a.m. in an escorted convoy of three vehicles,” officials said.
S.D. Singh Jamwal, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu zone said no pilgrim will be allowed to proceed for the Yatra after Saturday since the Yatra concludes on August 7.
“This is the last batch of Yatris to leave Jammu for this year’s Amarnath Yatra,” officials said here.
The 40-day long Yatra started on June 29 and will conclude on August 7 on Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival.
Situated at 3,888 metres above the sea level in Himalayas, the cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the size of the visible moon.
Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure symbolizes mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The cave is approached by pilgrims either through the 46-km long traditional Pahalagam-Chandanwari-
Sheshnag-Panchtarni trek or through the 14-km long Baltal-Dumail trek.Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims both at Baltal and Pahalgam.
Till Friday evening, 2,58,414 pilgrims had ‘darshan’ inside the cave shrine.
Last year, only 2.30 lakh pilgrims performed the Yatra.
This year, 48 pilgrims have lost their lives during the Yatra. Of these, 17 died in a road accident, eight were killed in a terror attacked while 23 died of natural causes.
Over 35,000 security personnel drawn from the army, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and state police have been deployed for this year’s Yatra.