The 14-day long pilgrimage to the glacier-fed Manimahesh Lake in Bharmour sub-division of Chamba district officially began on Saturday amidst religious fervour.
An estimated 30,000 pilgrims took the holy dip (locally called Chotta Nhaun or Shahi Snan) in the lake on Friday.
Every year, lakhs of pilgrims trek to the oval-shaped lake, located at a height of 13,500ft above the 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 small hamlet, which is about 12km from Bharmour town that serves as a base camp of the annual pilgrimage.
The local administration has put elaborate arrangements in place to ensure smooth conduct of the yatra.
“Tent accomodations and medical camps have been set up to facilitate the devotees. Rescue teams have been stationed at critical spots to meet any kind of emergency,” said Bharmour additional district magistrate (ADM) Prithi Pal Singh.
Two private heli-taxi operators have been allowed to ferry people during the pilgrimage. The one-way fare for the heli-taxi has been fixed at ₹2,750 per person, for which the tickets are being sold at a counter in Bharmour only. The 14km trek from Hadsar to the Manimahesh Lake that was damaged during the heavy rains, has also been repaired.
This year, the administration has banned the usage of plastic water bottles and plastic-packed snacks by the pilgrims. As many as 700 police personnel have been deployed for security and traffic management during the pilgrimage.
The yatra route has been divided into 13 sectors, with one supervising officer in each sector.
Aug 24, 2019 23:04 IST