Holy Mace to be taken in chopper to cave shrine today

4 sorties to carry Chhari Mubarak, Sadhus

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Aug 13: The holy Mace (Chhari Mubarak) of Lord Shiva will be taken to cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji by a special chopper tomorrow from Srinagar to perform the ‘Pooja-Archana’ in a traditional way there.
The holy Mace led by its custodian Mahant Deependra Giri Ji will leave for cave shrine tomorrow through special chopper and after a night halt at Panjtarni it will leave for darshan of cave shrine early next morning i.e on Shravan Purnima to perform ‘Pooja-Archana’ there, District Development Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal told Excelsior.
He said advance team has already been sent to holy cave for the arrangements there. Over a score of Sadhus and devotees led by Mahant Deependra Giri will accompany the ‘Silver Mace’ of Lord Shiva to holy cave where after the ‘Pooja- Archana’ it will return to Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar in the evening of August 15.
He said four sorties of choppers will fly to Panchtarni carrying holy Mace and Sadhus and all arrangements have been made by the authorities in this regard.
Besides, Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) will also perform culmination ceremony (Sampooran Samaroh) of this year’s annual pilgrimage at holy cave on Shravan Purnima falling on August 15. The top officials of the Shrine Board are likely to participate in the religious programme at holy cave, sources close to SASB said.
Earlier as per schedule the holy Mace had to leave Dashnami Akhara for the annual pilgrimage of cave shrine on August 10 by road up to Pahalgam.
After a two -night halt at Pahalgam it would leave for Chandanwari on August 12. Next day i.e on August 13 it had to leave for Sheshnag and on August 14 morning for Panchtarni the last halting station on way to cave shrine where from it had to leaver for holy cave early in the morning of Shravan Purnima coinciding with Raksha Bandhan festival on August 15.
But due to prevailing situation in the Valley and imposition of restrictions the scheduled programme of holy Mace was changed and authorities decided to carry the holy Mace, Sadhus and other devotees accompanying it by air for the darshan of Himalayan cave shrine situated at an altitude of 3880 meters and performance of religious rituals there.
With return of holy mace on August 15 the 46 -day long annual Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage which started on July 1 this year will culminate.
Over 3.4 lakh pilgrims paid obeisance in the cave shrine this year during 32 days of yatra. The 46-day long yatra was abruptly cut by 14 days and was suspended on 32nd day when Government on June 2 asked all pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir valley assigning that there were inputs that terrorists will attack the yatra.
Later no pilgrim was allowed to leave for Kashmir from here and the yatris who had reached Jammu from other parts of the country had also to returned to their home States in view of the Government advisory.
However, Chhari Mubarak continued its schedule programme and it was taken to historical Shankaracharya temple and Sharika Bhawani temple on the foot hills of Hariparvat hill lock in Capital city of Srinagar on August 1 and 2 respectively by Mahant Deependra Giri Ji and Sadhus.
However, Mahant Deependra Giri had said that despite the restrictions there will be no change in the schedule of holy Mace and it will be taken to cave shrine for annual pilgrimage on Shravan Purnima to continue age old rituals and tradition.