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Special prayers held on ‘Ashad-Purnima’ for Amarnath yatra

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“People, irrespective of caste, creed or religion have been cooperating, assisting and encouraging the pilgrims”

Srinagar: Special prayers were Sunday held at Pahalgam on the occasion of ‘Ashad-Purnima’ — marking the traditional commencement of the annual Amarnath yatra in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

“Chanting Vedic hymn, ‘Bhoomi-Pujan’, ‘Navgrah-Pujan’, ‘Chhari-Pujan’ and ‘Dhawajarohan’ ceremonies were performed at Pahalgam today on the auspicious occasion of ‘Ashad-Purnima’ that marks the commencement of annual pilgrimage of Swami Amarnath Ji, traditionally,” the custodian of the ‘Chhari-Mubarak’ (holy mace of Lord Shiva) said in a statement here.

He said these are the important rituals prior to the main course of the annual pilgrimage, which is likely to start later this month.

“The sound of conch shell reverberated the whole atmosphere. Keeping in view the Covid-19 pandemic, only selected number of Sadhus accompanied the holy mace from Dashnami Akhara Srinagar to Pahalgam,” he said.

The custodian said COVID-19 is an extraordinary situation and extraordinary measures need to be taken to meet this challenge.

“People of Jammu and Kashmir irrespective of their caste, creed or religion have been cooperating, assisting and encouraging the pilgrims and Sadhus who come here from across the country and even abroad for this annual pilgrimage,” he said.

He said prayers were also offered at the historic Martand Temple in Mattan area of the Anantnag district.

While the government has not yet announced formal dates for the commencement of the yatra, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam on Saturday said keeping in view the prevailing circumstances, the pilgrimage this year would have to be undertaken in a restricted manner.

While reviewing the preparations for the yatra, the chief secretary said a maximum of 500 pilgrims only would be allowed per day by road from Jammu towards the cave shrine.

Yatri Niwas to be used as base camp in Jammu for upcoming Amarnath pilgrimage

Jammu:  The Yatri Niwas at Bhagwati Nagar here would be used as the base camp for the upcoming pilgrimage to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, an official said.

“The yatri Niwas is being prepared as the base camp for the Amarnath yatra with all necessary security arrangements,” he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had decided to allow only 500 pilgrims per day by road from Jammu to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath during the yatra, which is likely to start from the Baltal track for two weeks later this month.

Earlier, the yatra was scheduled to commence from the twin tracks of Pahalgam in Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal on June 23 but was delayed due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

The Yatri Niwas, which served as the base camp for the annual pilgrimage in Jammu, was initially turned into administrative quarantine in March and later upgraded to a 500-bedded COVID care centre with all the required facilities to lower the pressure on the hospitals.

The official said the sprawling complex would be utilised as the base camp during the yatra period and later turned back into the Covid care centre.

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