Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Shrikhand Yatra to witness unexpectedly high rush of pilgrims from July 15

Himachal Vacation Travel News
RAMPUR (SHIMLA): Undeterred by calamity of Uttarakhand that killed hundreds of devotees, thousands of lord Shiva devotees from across the country are set to prove that no calamity can shake their faith in god by joining the toughest yatra to 17,000 feet high Shrikhand Mahadev from July 15.

Shrikhand MahadevLingam
Given the increasing number of pilgrims to Shrikhand yatra, district administration and organizing committee of yatra are going to hold a meeting to chalk out the plan for safety, security and convenience of expected thousands of people on Tuesday. The pilgrimage to Shrikhand Mahadev starts from Rampur (Shimla) and Nirmand (Kullu) and is one of the toughest yatras of the world. Unlike the ice-lingam of Amarnath, the miraculous 72 feet tall Shiva lingam of Shrikhand, which has cracks in it, is famous for not allowing snow to accumulate on it despite 30 to 40 feet high snow in its surroundings.
According to members of Shrikhand Seva Mandal, number of pilgrims is going to increase by many numbers as they are getting thousands of phone calls from across the country. “Most of the phone calls are from devotees who could not visit dhams in Uttarakhand. And now they want to get virtue of Shiva from this yatra. Most of the pilgrims are from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, besides Himachal Pradesh,” president of Shrikhand Seva Mandal, Govind Sharma, said.
Shrikhand yatra continues for one month from July 15 in the month of Shravan. Devotees can reach up to Jaon village of Nirmand by road and then starts about 35km-long on foot one side yatra. The both side yatra generally takes four days. Administration is busy in repairing the Rampur-Jaon road and arranging for parking facilities to accommodate hundreds of vehicles. For safety reasons, all the pilgrims joining yatra shall have to get themselves registered with police before starting and after completion of the yatra.
Anni sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Neeraj Gupta said they have a plan to deploy police personnel all along the route with medical services for the convenience of pilgrims. “I’ve demanded two MBBS for Shinghad and Bhim Dwar camps. Four police camps would be installed and oxygen cylinders, stretchers, emergency lights and other necessary equipments have also been ordered. Officials from forest, revenue, I&PH and other departments along with relief and rescue teams would be available in the camps,” Gupta said over phone.
All departments and organizations will hold a meeting on July 9 and shall take stock of the preparations. Before starting yatra, a preliminary team of specialists would visit Shrikhand and check all safety points. Most of the pilgrims join yatra in first 10 days and according to Govind Sharma, 18,765 pilgrims had a darshan of Shrikhand Mahadev lingam in 10 days last year. “Langars are being organized at various places since 1995 and our mandal is providing devotes with free tent service to spend night. Also, hundreds of other people provide tent service at many places for nominal charges. Shrikhand is gaining popularity as it is one of the five Kailashes on the earth,” he said.

Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra
Devotees can reach up to Jaon village by road which is 170km from Shimla and 200km from Kullu. Singhad is base camp of the yatra which is approachable by 3km trek from Jaon. Next camp is at Thachru after 9km on foot yatra from Singhad. Then Bhim Dwar is 10km above Thachru and further beyond this place is Parvati Bagh at distance of 4km. Both these places are the preferred last camping sites before going for darshan of Shiva lingam. Mostly devotees return back to Bhim Dwar after visiting Shrikhand.

- Shrikhand Mahadev lingam is 72 feet high
- It is believed that snow on lingam melts immediately, however its surrounding remains covered with snow round the year
- Shrikhand is the toughest pilgrimage of the country
- Yatra starts at 6,000 feet above the mean sea level and ends at 17,000 feet
- Over 50,000 pilgrims are expected to visit Shrikhand in one month
- Registration is mandatory before starting yatra
- Lingam is broken (khandit), so it is known as Shrikhand
- The yatra generaly results in body-ache due to tough geographical conditions, and it is believed that person gets rid of his ego and wrong deeds after suffering this pain

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