*BJP leaders, others join special Puja at Akhara Mandir
POONCH, Aug 24: Thousands of devotees today joined `Holy Mace’ Yatra led by Shri Shri 1008 Mahamandleshwar Swami Vishavatmanand Saraswati Ji Maharaj from Dashnami Akhara Mandir complex, Poonch to Shri Budha Amarnath Ji Shrine at Rajpura- Mandi.
The special Puja and Havan amidst chanting of Vedic Mantras commenced at around 7.30 am at Akhara Mandir Poonch where besides head priest- Swami Vishavatmanand Saraswati Ji Maharaj, many religious personalities from various parts of the country, BJP MP Jugal Kishore Sharma, State BJP chief Ravinder Raina, MLCs -Yash Pal Sharma, Pardeep Sharma and Vibodh Gupta; Deputy Commissioner Rahul Yadav, DIG Rajouri- Poonch Range Deepak Slathia and SSP Poonch Rajiv Pandey participated. There after, a grand religious gathering in the nearby hall was addressed by Swami Ji and some other dignitaries from all the communities including former Dy Chairman Legislative Council Jahangir Mir, Ex-MLA Aijaz Jan, Poonch Bar Association president Mohd Zaman, SD Sabha president Satish Sasan etc who stressed for communal harmony, brotherhood and peace in the region.
Swami ji, along with Holy Mace (Charri Murarak) were mounted on a highly decorated chariot with flowers and buntings, fitted with loud speakers. Then chanting religious slogans in the praise of Lord Shiva, a large number of devotees including men, women and children, under tight security arrangements started their on- foot yatra for Mandi town where shrine of Shri Budha Amarnath Ji is located. A large number of people from Poonch town and adjoining villages joined this historic yatra. On the way the stalls of drinks and eatables etc had been installed by Hindu and other community members. Many light motor vehicles and buses were following Charri Yatra.
At around 1 pm, Yatra arrived Chandak village at the bank of river Pulast, where after taking lunch at a Langar, the Yatra proceeded for Rajpura Mandi. At Mandi town, members of majority Muslim community accorded grand welcome to Charri Mubarak led by Swami Ji and the yatris. It reached Mandi Shrine at around 4.30 pm today.
SSP and Deputy Commissioner, Poonch besides other officers in the Administration also joined Yatra and were supervising security and other arrangements. The Yatris will have Darshan and special prayers on Saturday and Sunday- on the day of Rakshabandan and then return along with `Charri Mubarak’ on Monday to Poonch.
It is said that this ancient Shrine of Lord Shiva, is situated at the place in Himalyas, where Rishi Pulatsya- the grandfather of the King Ravana of Lanka, had worshipped for many decades. Pulast river flowing down from Loran-Mandi mountains of Pir Panjal (Himalyas) to Poonch and PoK has been named after the name of this great Saint.
The pilgrims who arrived from various parts of the country and parts of Jammu region at Poonch town last evening were accommodated in Akhara Mandir complex, ITI building and in two local Govt Higher Secondary schools for night halt. Many of them also had night stay at Dera Nangali Sahib near Poonch. A Langar has also been set up there for pilgrims at Dera. They joined the Charri Yatra at Dera Nangali Sahib. Many pilgrims also had special prayers there at Gurdwara which falls on the way to Mandi.