Holy mace leaves for cave shrine, given grand reception at Mattan

Mahant Deependra Giri Ji performing Puja at Mattan temple on Sunday. -Excelsior/Sajad Dar
Mahant Deependra Giri Ji performing Puja at Mattan temple on Sunday. -Excelsior/Sajad Dar

Yatra remains suspended from Jammu, 520 perform darshan

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Aug 7: The silver mace of Lord Shiva (Chhari Mubarak) led by Mahant Deependra Giri Ji Maharaj and Sadhus left for holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji early this morning from its abode Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar under tight security arrangements.

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The holy mace enroute paid obeisance at holy shrine of Mattan where it was given a rousing reception by hundreds of devotees and members of Management Committee including, Tirath Raj Mattan and the civil and police officers were also present on the occasion.
To maintain the age old tradition, Mahant Deependra Giri Ji and Sadhus performed Puja at the holy shrine. He was accompanied by president of the Tirath Raj, Mattan Ashok Sidha and other members of the Committee. The devotees chanted Har Har Mahadev and Baba Bhole Nath Ki Jai on the occasion. They also felicitated Mahant Ji. The Bajan Kirtan was also held by the devotees for entire day and they were served Prashad later.
The holy mace later reached base camp, Pahalgam where it will have a two days halt before proceeding for next camp of Chandanwari on August 9. After night haltage at Sheshnag and Panchtarni on August 9 and 10 respectively, the holy mace will reach cave shrine situated at an altitude of 3880 meters in snow bound Himalayas of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district during the early morning of Shravan Purnima falling on August 11.
The day also coincides with Raksha Bandhan festival. After performing darshan and Puja at cave shrine in a traditional way for the day, the holy mace will start its return journey in the evening on the same day towards the Panchtarni. With a night halt at Panchtarni the holy mace and Sadhus will start their return journey towards Pahalgam next day where the relics will be immersed in river Lidder.
The Sadhus later will be served with Prashad before return of holy Mace to Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar culminating the 43 -day long annual Amarnath yatra which started on June 30 this year.
Speaking to media persons, Mahant Deependra Giri Ji expressedtotal satisfaction with the arrangements made by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board led by Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha as its Chairman. He said adequate arrangements were made by the SASB this time for the pilgrims throughout the yatra.
Mahant Ji said that the annual yatra can even touch eight to nine lakh provided the better road facility is made at Panchtarni and Sheshnag. He said when in 40 days 6.35 lakh pilgrims could visit the holy cave previously why can’t the number surpass to eight lakh. He said during that year the Ice Lingam was also intact and in full form on Shravan Purnima.
When asked what is his message to the people of J&K, he said his simple message to the people is that they should love all and hate none. “If we adopt this principle all our problems will be solved and there will be peace everywhere”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Amarnath yatra remained suspended from the Bhagwati Nagar base camp here for the second day today owing to a sharp decline in the arrival of pilgrims, officials said.
However, 520 yatris performed darshan at holy cave from twin tracks of Baltal and Chandanwari by this evening taking total number of yatris who visited holy cave since June 30 to 2,90,541.
Officials said the weather enroute holy cave was pleasant for the entire day.
“The Amarnath yatra remained suspended from Jammu due to the non-availability of adequate number of pilgrims…. We might send one more batch before the culmination of the yatra, depending on the availability of pilgrims,” an official said.
The officials said the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas is wearing a deserted look for the last few days, prompting the community kitchen operators to wind up their services.
On August 2, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had appealed to the pilgrims to visit the cave shrine before August 5 in view of a forecast of inclement weather and more rains after that.
Nearly three lakh pilgrims visited the cave shrine, housing a naturally formed Ice-Shivling, this year.