Led by Panch Pyare, first batch of pilgrims leaves for Hemkund Sahib
Around 5,000 pilgrims are expected to be present on the opening day at Hemkund Sahib.dehradun Updated: May 24, 2018 22:43 IST
Led by the Panch Pyare, the first batch of 3,000 Sikh devotees have set out for Hemkund Sahib in Uttarakhand from Govindghat on Thursday to pay obeisance at the Sikh shrine, on the opening day on Friday.
Around 5,000 pilgrims are expected to be present on the opening day at Hemkund Sahib, situated at the height of 4,632 meters. Guru Gobind Singh is said to have performed ‘Tapasya’ at Hemkund Sahib, situated about 17 km away from Govindghat on the Badrinath National Highway.
Around 1100 pilgrims had already left for Ghangaria — the last human habitation on way to Hemkund Sahib — on May 23.
Sikh pilgrims attended the first Ardaas (prayers) at the Gurudwara at Govindghat on Thursday and set out for Hemkund Sahib after receiving the Hukumnama. Narinder Jeet Singh Bindra, former chairman of the Minorities Commission, Uttarakhand, addressed the devotees before their departure.
The devotees reached Ghangaria on Thursday evening after negotiating a 12-km trek and will climb the final 5-km lap for Hemkund Sahib on Friday morning to be present at the opening ceremony at 10 am.
Sardar Seva Singh, the Varisth Prabandhak (senior manager) Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee Govind Ghat said that the preparations for the Yatra are almost complete and a large number of pilgrims are expected this year. A path has been cut through heavy snow and glacier by army Jawans for the final leg of the climb to Hemkund Sahib, he added.
SDRF, police and home guards have been deployed on the route and a police camp has already opened at Bhyundar, the last village on the way to assist the pilgrims, said Tripti Bhatt, SP (Superintendent of Police), Chamoli.
Bhatt said that in the past there have been complaints of overcharging by mule operators and porters in the past so they have been instructed to display the rate list at the starting points.
Ashish Joshi, district magistrate, Chamoli, also showed his resentment over the slow progress in the restoration work of drinking water posts on the route and instructed the Jal Sansthan officials to complete it immediately.
Situated near the Himsarovar Lake against the backdrop of snow clad Himalayas, the Hemkund Sahib is one of the most revered Sikh shrines in the higher Himalayas of Garhwal.
Several Sikh devotees are seen bound for Hemkund Sahib on cycles, two-wheelers, taxis, cars, buses and even on foot from Rishikesh.
The portals of Lokpal Shri Laxman temple, situated near Hemkund Sahib, will also open for pilgrims on Friday.