Amarnath yatra concludes with 6.2 lakh performing darshan

Amarnath yatra concludes with 6.2 lakh performing darshan

2 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Srinagar: The 39-days long annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath ji in South Kashmir Himalayas concluded today on the occasion of Sharavan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan as the ‘Chhari Mubarak’, the Holy Mace of Lord Shiva led by Mahant Depender Giri, reached the 3880-metre high Himalayan cave shrine amidst Vedic chants. Mahant Giri, the custodian of the Holy Mace, accompanied by over 100 ‘Sadhus’ reached the shrine with the Chhari Mubarak this morning after a night halt at Panjtarni, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) officials said, adding that in addition to Sadhus, about 500 other pilgrims also performed darshan today. During all 39 days of the pilgrimage, the Ice Lingam remained in full bloom and didn’t melt even on the last days as used to be the case earlier. Traditional rituals were performed inside the cave, housing the naturally-formed holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva to mark the culmination of the annual yatra that began on June 25. According to SASB officials, 6.2 lakh pilgrims performed darshan of Lord Shiva’s naturally formed Ice Lingam in the holy cave shrine during 39 days. After darshan and performing of other rituals inside the shrine, the Holy Mace started its return journey this afternoon and would have a night halt today at Panjtarni on way back to Pahalgam. Religious fervour prevailed in the South Kashmir Himalayas when the Chhari Mubarak was taken to the shrine on the day of Sharavan Purnima, which coincides with the festival of Raksha Bandhan. More than 6.2 lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the cave shrine during the pilgrimage, which witnessed the death of about 130 pilgrims due to natural causes and road accidents, prompting the Supreme Court to issue notices to the Centre and State Government to explain the lack of medical and other facilities. While 88 pilgrims died on account of medical reasons, 42 others died due to accidents, seven on the yatra routes and 35 elsewhere the State Governor N N Vohra, who is Chairman of the SASB, and CEO of the Board Navin K Choudhary participated in the special prayers at the cave shrine. The Governor prayed for sustained peace, harmony, progress and prosperity in the State. He expressed satisfaction over the smooth conduct of this year’s Yatra, despite serious constraints arising from the heavy snowfall in the preceding winter and bad weather for several weeks before the commencement of the pilgrimage. Mr Vohra lauded the close coordination, which had been maintained between security forces, civil and police administration, all the stakeholders, local population and the Shrine Board in ensuring a smooth and peaceful Yatra. While directing the CEO to ensure complete cleaning up of all camp sites, he asked him to prepare a camp and route-wise action plan for Yatra 2013, keeping in view the experiences gained this year. He stressed that route-wise arrangements of all aspects of the yatra must be worked out well in advance with particular focus on medicare, sanitation, cleanliness, water and power supply and other facilities besides ensuring protection of environment and ecology of the Yatra area. The Chhari Mubarak will start return journey for a night halt at Panjtarni later in the evening. From Panjtarni, the Holy Mace will leave for Pahalgam the next morning. ‘Pujan’ and ‘Visarjan’ ceremonies will be performed on the banks of river Lidder in Pahalgam. Thereafter, traditional ‘bhandara’ will be organised for Sadhus.