Chamba (Himachal Pradesh): The annual “Chhari Yatra” or the procession of Lord Shiva’s mace started today from the 1,000-year-old Lakshmi Narayan temple here to the Manimahesh lake.
The holy mace will reach the lake, at an altitude of 13,500 feet, Sep 12, sub-divisional magistrate and pilgrimage in-charge Jitender Kanwar told.
The 14-km trek starts from the Hadsar base camp at a height of 6,000 feet and located 65 km from here.
The 16-day-long pilgrimage considered as arduous as the one to the Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, had began Aug 28.
It will conclude Sep 13 on “Radhashtami” (the birthday of Lord Krishna’s companion Radha).
For the first time, the state government has made it mandatory for devotees to get themselves registered.
So far, more than 100,000 devotees have undertaken the pilgrimage and taken a dip in the Manimahesh lake in the Bharmour Valley from where they can see Mount Kailash, believed to be Shiva’s abode.
Authorities are expecting over 50,000 devotees will reach the lake on the last day.
The state government has allowed two private heli-taxi operators – Bharat Trans and Summit Aviation – to ferry people.
For the safety of devotees, the administration has deployed over 450 police and home guard personnel besides 50-member rescue teams on the entire route.