Final pujan in holy cave, about 2.60 lakh have darshan this year

Srinagar, Aug 7: The 40-day-long annual Amarnath pilgrimage concluded today when “Chhari Mubarak”, the holy Silver Mace of Lord Shiva was taken inside the cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas on the occasion of “Sharavan Purnima” (Rakshabandan).
A small group of devotees left Baltal base camp for the holy cave early this morning while there was no yatri from Pahalgam.
About 2.60 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance during the pilgrims which commenced from June 29 from both shortest Baltal and traditional Pahalgam tracks.
Over 40 devotees have lost their lives in terror attack, accidents and health problems this year.
“Bam Bam Bolay and Har Har Mahadev” rent the air when Mahant Deependra Giri, carrying Chhari-Mubarak, accompanied by large number devotees, including Sadhus, left Panjterni for holy cave shrine on traditional Pahalgam routes early this morning.
Amid chanting of Vedic hymns Deependra Giri took the Chhari Muabarak inside the cave shrine early this morning where special puja was held after covering 2 km distance from Panjterni to holy cave on foot.
The Chhari had reached Panjterni for a night halt from Sheshnag early yesterday.
He said there was no yatri at Pahalgam or Chandanwari since they could not have made it to cave shrine today, when last pujan of this year’s yatra was held.
However, he said some pilgrims who had arrived at Baltal yesterday left for the cave shrine early this morning. The pilgrims will pay obeisance and have darshan on the concluding day today after covering 14-km-long hilly terrain before returning back to base camp in the afternoon.
Mahant Giri said on “Raksha Bandhan” today “Sharavan Purnima” Chhari Mubarak left Panjterni for holy Cave for Pujan at 0700 hrs. Traditional rituals will be performed & prayers offered the whole day at holy cave.
However, before dusk, Chhari-Mubarak will leave for night halt at Panchtarani, he said adding from there charri will leave for night halt at Pahalgam at 0700 hrs tomorrow.
On August 9 ‘Dvitiya Pujan’ & ‘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 Umang Narula, Chief Executive Officer, and Jitendra Kumar Singh, Additional CEO, SASB, Shrine Board prayed at the Holy Cave for sustained peace, harmony, progress and prosperity in the State.
Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, chaired a review meeting with CEO and other concerned officers.
CEO informed that 2,60,003 lakh Yatris had paid obeisance at the Holy Cave Shrine during this year’s 40 days pilgrimage, which had commenced on 29th June along both the Baltal and the Pahalgam routes.
Barring the terrorist attack on 10th July, on a bus carrying Shri Amarnath pilgrims near Khanabal, in Anantnag District, and the unfortunate road accident which took place on 16th July in Nachilana area of Banihal in Ramban District, Governor observed that, fortunately, the Yatra had passed off well.
Governor expressed sadness over the death of 29 persons in this Year’s pilgrimage, within the Yatra area.
Those who lost their lives were pilgrims, service providers and others, of whom 3 died due to accidents and 26 due to medical failures. Governor conveyed his heartfelt sympathy to the families of 8 pilgrims who lost their lives in a terrorist attack on a bus carrying pilgrims and to the next of kin of 17 Yatris who were killed in a road accident in Ramban district.
He stressed the need for identifying fresh and further measures which could perhaps prevent the loss of precious lives in the future Yatras.
As decided in the meeting held by Governor last week, CEO inspected sanitation and cleanliness at Holy Cave, Panjtarni and Baltal Camps today and apprised the Governor about the ongoing Sanitation Drive in all the Camps and on the Yatra tracks under the supervision of the Camp Directors, and representatives of the various State Government Departments deployed in the Yatra Camps.
Governor directed CEO to ensure that no Camp Director leaves the Camp unless all cleaning work has been fully completed, at all locations, as per the approved Sanitation Action Plan for Yatra 2017.