Jammu: To mark the beginning of this year’s annual Amarnath Yatra, a ‘Pratham Pooja’ for the pilgrimage shall be performed on Thursday morning on the occasion of Jayesth Purnima at the holy cave shrine of Lord Shiva.
Couple of days back the annual pilgrimage was cancelled due to prevailing COVID-19 situation and it would be symbolic only. The 56-day yatra to the 3,880-metre-high cave shrine of Lord Shiva located in the upper reaches of Himalayas, was supposed to start from the twin routes of Pahalgam and Baltal on June 28 and culminate on August 22. The pilgrimage was cancelled in 2020 as well due to the pandemic. Even online booking for the advance registration for yatra commenced on April 1, however in the wake of spurt in Cobvid-19 case, the registration was halted.
However all the traditional religious rituals shall be performed at the Holy Cave Shrine as per past practice this year.
While canceling the yatra, LG Manoj Sinha had said the decision was taken in the larger public interest as it was important to save people’s lives. Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board has put in place virtual and televised mechanism for live Darshan of Aarti from the holy cave for all the devotees worldwide.
Principal Secretary to Lt Governor, Nitishwar Kumar, who is also the CEO of Shrine Board and other senior officials of the Board will take part in the Pratham Pooja’ today to be held at 10.30am.
General Secretary SASB and BABA Yatri Niyas Sudershan Khajuria, senior vice president Karan Singh Charak and vice president Shakti Sharma has already reached the Kashmir valley. The senior funcationeries of VHP will also be taking part in the Pooja. Besides taking part in the ‘Pratham Pooja’ ceremony the Board officials will also reviewing other arrangements.
On the scheduled commencement of the Yatra on June 28, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is also Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board along other senior officials would be paying obeisance at the Cave Shrine.
The Shrine Board has also made the arrangements for the mace of Lord Shiva- Chhari Mubarak’ to be taken to the holy cave on August 22, when the yatra is to conclude coinciding with the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Both morning telecast of Aarti at 6 AM and evening Aarti at 5 PM, each for 30 minutes, is to be live-streamed on Board official website and the app specifically dedicated for the devotees.
The Lt Governor has also stressed upon the need to follow Covid protocol on the significant and pious days like Pratham Pooja, Samapan Pooja. He has also appealed the saints visiting the Shrine cave to perform Aarti as per “Shastra” would follow Covid appropriate behaviour.