Kashmiri Pandits trek to Harmukh Gangbal lake amid COVID-19 curbs,perform pilgrimage to Shiva’s abode – travel

The annual yatra to high-altitude Harmukh Gangbal lake, which Kashmiri Pandits consider as the abode of Lord Shiva, has been performed in Central Kashmir Himalayas amid curtailment due to COVID-19.

“The yatra started from Naranag on August 24 and team members had to trek to Harmukh Gangbal lake. This year, the yatra size was also curtailed due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic”, Vice-President of Harmukh Gangbal Ganga Trust (HGGT), King C Bharati said.

The team members of the HGGT performed yagna at the Harmukh Gangbal lake, which is located around 14,500 feet above the sea level in the Harmukh mountain range.

“The lake is also known as Harmukh Ganga. The Harmukh mountain is also know as The Kailash of Kashmir. The yatra returned to Jammu today”, he said.

Rajiv Pandita, a member of the yatra team, said it began on August 24 and  culminated on August 28. “The yatra was conducted under tight security. The Gangbal yatra was revived after 200 years on June 2009”, Pandita said.

The holy mace was taken to Harmukh Gangbal lake shrine and mahayagya of Mata Gangeshori was held amid vedic mantras.

While over 450 people had performed the pilgrimage last year, this time only 12 pilgrims were allowed due to the pandemic.

The pilgrims braved incessant rains, chanting slogan of “Jai Maa Gange and Har Har Mahadev “ during the yatra this year.

The HGGT thanked Divisional commissioner Kashmir, IGP Kashmir, Commander Sector 3, DC Ganderbal, Commanding officer 24 RR, SSP Ganderbal for smooth conduct of the yatra.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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