Amarnath pilgrims, arrived at the historic Shankaracharya temple here on Wednesday, as a prelude to commencement of 'Chhari Mubarak' to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva.
On the occasion of Haryali-Amavasya, pilgrims and saints led by Mahant Deependra Giri, custodian of 'Chhari' of Swami Amarnathji, reached the temple amidst sounds of conch shells.
Giri welcomed the commencement of helicopter service for the pilgrims from Baltal to Panchtarani, six kilometres from the Amarnath cave shrine.
"This is a right step in right direction and would definitely help keeping the periphery of Holy Cave not only free from noise pollution but would also help keeping Himlingam for a longer period," Giri told reporters.
Earlier, the helicopter service used to ferry pilgrims from Baltal to the cave shrine. However, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) decided to start the service upto Panchtarani on the advice of environmentalists and experts.
The pilgrims would reach the Amarnath cave shrine on August 5 and pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva on Shravan-Purnima and before dusk, they would start their return journey to Pahalgam where rituals would be performed on the banks of river Lidder marking the culmination of the yatra.