Srinagar: Chhari Mubarak (the holy mace of Lord Shiva) reached Panchtarni and will proceed towards the Amarnath cave shrine on Thursday for the final puja to mark the formal end to the 62-day Amarnath Yatra 2023.
An official said that the last batch of yatris left for the Amarnath cave shrine on August 23 and since then, the yatra has remained suspended.
He said that during the beginning of the yatra this year, there was a good rush of yatris, however, later it started declining with each passing day, forcing the authorities to suspend the yatra a week before its scheduled time.
“This year, the overall flow was good after several years as around 4.5 lakh yatris visited the Amarnath cave shrine,” he said.
Over the last several years, Amarnath Yatra has been witnessing lesser footfalls.
Compared to over 6 lakh yatris who visited the Amarnath cave shrine in 2012, the number came down to over 3 lakh in 2022 and 4.5 lakh this year.
This year, the 62-day yatra commenced on July 1 and would culminate with the event of ‘Chhari Mubarak’ on August 31.
The official said that a group of sages led by the custodian of the holy mace Mahant Deependra Giri carrying Chhari Mubarak would reach the Amarnath cave on Thursday and spend Wednesday night at Panchtarni.
The 145-km Chhari Mubarak yatra starts from Dashnami Akhara in Srinagar and during the route, the sages perform hawans at Pampore, Bijbehara, Anantnag, Mattan, Aishmuqam, and finally at Pahalgam where the procession takes rest for two days before proceeding to Amarnath cave shrine.
The sages along with Chhari Mubarak usually spend two nights at Pahalgam – one at Chandanwari and another at Sheshnag.
“The puja of the mace was again held early Wednesday morning before leaving for Panchtarni,” the official said. “On August 31, on the occasion of Shravan-Punima, Chhari Mubarak would be taken to the Amarnath cave shrine to reach there before sunrise, and the pujan would begin with the rising sun. (KNO)