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Hundreds of devotees join three-day Kailash Yatra in Bhaderwah

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Bhaderwah: Hundreds of devotees on Wednesday joined the three-day annual Kailash Yatra in Doda district amid tight security arrangements, officials said.

The pilgrimage to the 14,700-feet-high Kailash Kund, depicting ancient Nag culture, was conducted in a restricted manner for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘Charri Mubarak’ (holy mace) was taken out from centuries-old Vasuki Nag Temple at Gatha around 8 am and was joined by another mace from Vasuki Nag Temple at Vasik Dhera in Bhaderwah town, marking the commencement of the Yatra, the officials said.

They said former member of legislative council (MLC) Naresh Kumar Gupta and Veteran leader Mast Nath Yogi participated in the rituals connected with the ancient Yatra at Vasik Dhera.

As a mark of respect towards other religions and to add symbolic gesture depicting the age-old communal harmony and mutual brotherhood, members of Muslim community turned up to see off the pilgrims at historic Seri Bazar.

“This is a message for everyone that we are united. God is one and why should we discriminate. We should live peacefully in our society,” Mohammad Ashraf Goni (70), a member of senior citizen council Bhaderwah, said.

Superintendent of Police, Bhaderwah, Aftab Alam Mir said strict security arrangements have been made for the peaceful conduct of the Yatra.

“Three-tier security involving police, paramilitary and army has been put in place all along the 21-km-long treacherous route for the safety of the pilgrims,” he said.

The Charri Mubarak would reach the high-altitude lake on Friday morning and the accompanying devotees would perform the traditional prayers and have a holy dip in the ice-cold water there.

According to local belief, Kailash Kund was the original abode of lord Shiva, but he gave it to Vasuki Nag before moving to Manimahesh in the Bharmour area of Himachal Pradesh.

The pilgrimage, which commences on the 14th day after ‘Shravan Purnima’, is considered as one of the toughest, as pilgrims have to trek the steep Kailash mountain range to reach the holy Kund (lake) to take the blessings of serpent god, head priest Suresh Jogi said.

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