Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir), August 19, 2016 -The Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnathji concluded on Shravan Purnima (August 19, 2016) , amid chanting of religious hymns in the spiritual ambience of South Kashmir Himalayas with the Holy Mace of Lord Shiva, the Chhari Mubarak, paying obeisance at Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnath on the auspicious occasion coinciding with the annual festival of Raksha Bandhan.
On the last day of pilgrimage, 362 yatris including Sadhus carrying Holy Mace paid obeisance at the Cave Shrine taking the total number of pilgrims this year to 2,20,761.
This year’s figure has been the lowest in the past decade because of the ongoing unrest in Kashmir Valley, forcing a lot of pilgrims to postpone visit to next year.
The Holy mace of Lord Shiva carried by sadhus and devotees, chanting Bum Bum Bholay and religious hymns arrived at the Holy Cave in the wee hours for the day-long prayers and Pujan in a traditional way.
Earlier the Holy Mace left Panchtarni in the mid night to trek the eight kilometer terrain braving the cold weather. Devotees travelled by foot from Pahalgam, trekking 42 kilometers from Pahalgam, to reach the Holy Cave Shrine with night halts at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarani.
After rituals at the sanctum sanctorum, the Holy Mace started the return journey before dusk. After a night halt at Panchtarni it will leave for Pahalgam early next day.
The Holy Mace stays at Pahalgam for night before leaving for its abode Amriteshwar temple at Dashnami Akhara, Srinagar next day.
While officially the yatra ended, ‘pujan’ and ‘visarjan’ (immersion) ceremonies for the journey of ‘Chhari Mubarak’ are performed on the banks of Lidder river in Pahalgam on very next day.
It is be followed by a traditional open kitchen, the last ritual of the pilgrimage.
The 48-day along annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Yatra had commenced from Pahalgam and Baltal routes amid strict security arrangements on July 2, 2016.