Bhaderwah/Jammu- The three-day Kailash Yatra commenced in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district on Monday as over 12,000 devotees left for the annual pilgrimage from the ancient Vasuki Nag temple here, officials said.
The pilgrimage to the 14,700-foot-high Kailash Kund, depicting ancient Nag’ culture, was seen off by Doda Deputy Commissioner Vishesh Paul Mahajan along with Senior Superintendent of Police Abdul Qayoom and Additional Deputy Commissioner Dilmir Chowdhary.
The Yatra is considered one of the toughest as pilgrims have to trek the 18-km-steep Kailash mountain range to pay their obeisance at the high-altitude temple, where they take a dip in the ice-cold Kund’ (lake) and take the blessings of their deities Vasuki Nag and Lord Shiva.
“Last year, over 35,000 devotees paid obeisance at the holy Kailash Kund and this year we are expecting manifold increase in the turnout as we have promoted this ancient and unique pilgrimage at the Union Territory and national level simultaneously,” Mahajan told PTI.
The ‘Charri Mubarak’ (holy mace) was taken out from Vasuki Nag Temple at Gatha around 9 am and was joined by another mace from Vasuki Nag Temple at Vasik Dhera in Bhaderwah town, marking the commencement of the pilgrimage.
Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust, which looks after the maintenance of ancient temples and is also one of the main organisers of the Yatra, demanded that the Kailash Yatra should be promoted on a national level.
“This is perhaps the only Yatra of Jammu and Kashmir which continued during the peak of militancy,” Secretary J-K Dharmarth Trust and former SSP Bhaderwah Ashok Sharma said.
The Yatra is unique in every aspect and the government should protect and promote it at par with Amarnath and Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, he said.
Former member of the legislative council (MLC) Naresh Kumar Gupta and another veteran leader Mast Nath Yogi participated in the rituals connected with the ancient yatra at Vasak Dera.
The Charri Mubarak would reach the high-altitude lake on Wednesday morning after a two-night halt en route.
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