Annual Manimahesh Yatra comes to symbolic end with priests performing rituals, taking holy dip
Last year, more than 3 lakh people had visited the holy lake in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district, but this time the number was not more than 100 amid the Covid-19 pandemic
The annual pilgrimage to the glacier-fed Manimahesh Lake in tribal Bharmour valley of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh has concluded with only priests performing the rituals and taking the holy dip.
Manimahesh Yatra, which began on August 12, was held symbolically this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
A handful of devotees and priests were allowed at the lake at the start of the yatra, which was not open for the public this time in view of the social distancing norms.
Bharmour additional district magistrate (ADM) Prithi Paul Singh said that only 60 people, mainly priests were allowed at the lake on the concluding day on Tuesday.
He said that the priests had reached the lake on Monday with the holy mace of Lord Shiva.
“The yatra concluded with priests performing the rituals of crossing the lake and then taking a holy dip,” Singh said.
No commercial activities were allowed this year. However, facility for the stay of priests was set up and a rescue team was also deployed.
Last year, more than 3 lakh people had visited the holy lake. This year the number was not more than 100.
TREK OF FAITH
Every year, pilgrims trek to the oval-shaped lake, located at a height of 13,500ft above sea level, to catch a glimpse of Mount Kailash, believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, and offer prayers.
The uphill journey starts from Hadsar, a hamlet located about 12km from Bharmour town that serves as a base camp of the annual pilgrimage.
Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this pilgrimage. A rock formation in the shape of a Shivling on Kailash is considered to be the manifestation of Lord Shiva. The snowfield at the base of the mountain is called Shiva’s Chaugan.
Mount Kailash is considered invincible. No one has so far been able to scale this peak.
Manimahesh is approached from different routes. Pilgrims from Lahaul-Spiti come through Kugti pass. Some from Kangra and Mandi come via Kawarsi or Jalsu passes. The easiest route is from Chamba and runs through Bharmour.