Srinagar: The annual pilgrimage to Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas concluded on Sunday when Chhari-Mubarak, holy Silver Mace of Lord Shiva, was taken there by air after the government cancelled the yatra due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Mahant Deependra Giri, custodian of the holy Mace — one depicting Lord Shiva and another Shakti Goddess Parvati–, led the puja and other traditional rituals at the cave, where only a selected number of Sadhus were present.
The holy Mace carried by Mahant Giri left Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar, this morning and was taken to the holy cave by air on the occasion of Shravan Purnima (Rakshabandan).
Traditional rituals and Pujan were performed chanting Vedic Hymn at Holy Shrine wherein Lord Shiva recounted ‘Amar-Katha’ to Goddess. Selected number of Sadhus accompanied Holy Mace due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Collective prayers were offered for early eradication of the pandemic, peace and prosperity.
Mahant Giri appealed to the people to make collective effort to fight COVID-19 by carrying out their social responsibility, including getting vaccinated, wearing masks, keeping social distance and frequently sanitizing hands so that pandemic is wiped out. “Once the pandemic is defeated we all once again can have our natural and normal life back without any restrictions,” he added.
Chhari-Mubarak has reached Pahalgam this evening. Pujan and Visarjan ceremony shall be performed on the bank of river Lidder on Monday.
This is the second consecutive year Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) cancelled the annual pilgrimage due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, the yatra was suspended after pilgrims were asked to leave for security reasons when centra abrogated Article 370 and 35 A on August 5, 2019.
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha last month launched an online service of SASB to facilitate devotees from across the world to perform virtual puja, hawan and get prasad at their doorsteps. The Shrine board had arranged for live telecast of morning and evening aarti from Holy Cave of Lord Shiva both on TV and Digital platforms after Yatra was cancelled for the second consecutive year in the wake of Covid surge.
A week later, Reliance Jio started streaming live ‘aarti’ from Amarnath cave shrine on JioTV in order to facilitate devotees, who are unable to have physical ‘darshan’ following cancellation of the annual yatra due to COVID-19 pandemic.