Preparations for main Amarnath Yatra in good shape

Read about final preparations for the Chhadi Mubarak, as well as more on the take of Mahant Deependra Giri on how and why yatra through Pahalgam route contitutes the only legitimate way of doing this holy pilgrimage.

Srinagar, July 14, KONS- The custodian of the holy mace of lord Shiva or ‘Charri Mubarak’, Mahant Deependra Giri today announced the programme for the commencement of the ‘religious’ yatra to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir Himalayas.
Giri, who had earlier campaigned for restricting the yatra to a period of one month, said rituals connected with Chhari-Mubarak will begin with Bhoomi-pujan and Dhawajarohan ceremonies at Pahalgam on ‘Vyas-Purnima’ which falls on July 18, marking the commencement of the religious yatra.
It is note worthy that a record number of 4, 73,744 pilgrims have already visited the holy cave for darshan so far with 3313 leaving for the cave shrine from the base camps on Monday.
Giri said, after performing the ‘Chhari-Pujan’ at Dashnami Akhara in Srinagar on Nag-Panchami, which falls on August six, the holy mace would be taken in a procession to the cave shrine.
On way to the holy cave, special prayers would be offered at various temples, the Mahant said, adding, the holy mace will reach the cave shrine for ‘darshan’ on Shravan-Purnima falling on August 16 which marks the conclusion of the annual yatra.
Giri, who has also expressed disappointment over preference of the shortest Baltal route to the traditional Pahalgam track, said Mahadev Gir Dashnami Akhara trust has made all arrangements for Sadhus coming from across the country for annual pilgrimage.
All necessary arrangements for their comfortable stay and food have been made at the Akhara building in Srinagar, the head priest said.
Mahant Deependra Giri, resigned as member of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) following the differences over duration of yatra and the artificial ice lingam controversy in 2006.
The Mahant is of the opinion that the annual pilgrimage should be conducted during the month of “Shravan” only as per the age-old religious customs and traditions.
Even as he disassociated himself from the Board, he however, continued to do on his own “all that might be required to maintain the sanctity of the annual pilgrimage of Amarnath”.
Giri, has asserted that using the man-made Baltal route for the pilgrimage — which is significantly more convenient than the original one — goes against the Hindu scriptures.
 According to Giri, ancient scriptures hold the trek through Pahalgam as the only authentic route for the pilgrimage.
 He argues that the yatra is not sanctimonious if there is no penance.
 “There is no mention of Baltal in the scriptures, which means Pahalgam is the only authentic route for the pilgrimage. This is as per Hingish Sahita — the only authentic scripture which explains Amarnath pilgrimage at length and bears description of how to conduct this yatra. As far as Baltal goes, the route was thrown open by the Army,” Giri says.
 The contention of the SASB so far has been that “reaching the cave is of utmost importance, and the route has no bearing on the pilgrimage”.
 Meanwhile 1846 pilgrims were allowed from Nunwan base camp along the Pahalgam route and 1465 devotees left Baltal base camp on their way to the cave shrine on Monday morning.
Two women pilgrims including one from Delhi, died of cardiac arrest on way to the cave shrine, raising the number of deaths during the ongoing annual pilgrimage to 51, official sources said.