BHADARWAH, Aug 21: The first batch of annual Mani Mahesh Yatra left from here with holy mace for onward journey to the holy shrine of Mani Mahesh in Bharmour of Chamba District in Himachal Pradesh.
The Yatra commenced from Lakshmi Narayan Temple situated at Mandir Bazaar Bhadarwah, where since morning devotees started assembling from different parts of Chenab Valley and proceeded towards Mani Mahesh.
A group of about 3000 devotees departed from Lakshmi Narayan Temple Bhadarwah to Bheja village, where the pilgrims will stay for a night and then proceed further towards the shrine in Himachal Pradesh.
However, another group of pilgrims will leave on Raksha Bandhan (August 26) in busses.
Rajinder Parshad, a priest from village Pounra said that this is an ancient pilgrimage and a symbol of unique Nag culture. Despite motorable road, the devotees still prefer to go on foot with the holy mace, which took a marathon 14 days to complete the odious trek pilgrimage, he added.
“Although thousands of devotees from different parts of the country converge every year to take part in historical Mani Mahesh and Kailash Yatra, but Government and Tourism Department in particular should showcase this unique Nag culture in a big way on the pattern of Amarnath Yatra and Vaishno Devi pilgrimage”, said Mast Nath Yogi, Advisor Sanatan Dharam Sabha Bhadarwah.
The pilgrims were seen off by Additional SP Bhadarwah Rajinder Singh, SDPO Tussif Ahmed, SHO Bhadarwah Inspector Muneer Khan and people from all walks of life, who also prayed for the happy pilgrimage.
Adequate security arrangement, drinking water facility, medicare and other facilities were made in advance by the administration for the smooth and peaceful conduct of the pilgrimage.