J&K: Chhari-Mubarak rituals held at Pahalgam to formally start Amarnath Yatra

Mahant Deependra Giri

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): Chhari-Mubarak rituals were held in Pahalgam today to mark the traditional commencement of annual Amarnath Yatra.

Mahant Deependra Giri, the custodian of the holy mace of Lord Shiva announced the schedule for the Chhari-Mubarak rituals for this year’s Amarnath Yatra on the occasion and said the pilgrimage will be “a low-key affair” in view of COVID-19 pandemic. He said that everybody including pilgrims and citizens of J&K must help the UT government to ensure smooth pilgrimage and effective following of Covi-19 rules.

Talking to reporters in Srinagar on the occasion of Chari-Mubark rituals, Mahant Deependra Giri said, “It would be a great challenge to manage social distancing amongst the pilgrims, who come from across the country, and workers in the langars even if yatra is curtailed to a period of two to three weeks from July 22.”

The Mahant said that he was sure that the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) and the state administration have been working collectively to devise a mechanism to conduct this year’s yatra that will be safe for everyone.

“In case we continue to witness spike in cases in the weeks to come, then performing rituals connected with annual pilgrimage at the holy cave or any other desired place would only be possible taking aerial route,” he said.

Giving details of the Chhari-Mubarak pooja, he said that as per traditions, ‘Bhoomi-Pujan’, ‘Navgrah Pujan’ and ‘Dhawajarohan’ rituals, that mark the commencement of the Amarnath Yatra, will be performed at Pahalgam on the auspicious occasion of ‘Ashad-Purnima’ on July 5 (today).

After performing the Chhari-Pujan at Dashnami Akhara Srinagar on the occasion of ‘Nag-Panchami’ on July 25, Mahant Giri will carry the holy mace to the holy shrine of Swami Amarnath to have ‘Darshan’ on ‘Shravan-Purnima’ on August 3.