INDIA, July 6, 2020 : Special prayers were held Sunday at Pahalgam on the occasion of Ashad-Purnima, marking the traditional commencement of the annual Amarnath yatra in South Kashmir. Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Saturday said keeping in view the prevailing circumstances, the pilgrimage this year would have to be undertaken in a restricted manner. In view of the yatra, the holy mace of Lord Shiva was taken to Pahalgam and Martand Surya temples in South Kashmir. The annual pilgrimage begins today with Bhoomi Poojan at Pahalgam and Chaddi Ashnan (Holy Bath) at fresh water springs of Martand Surya Temple.
A special bhoomi pujan was organized in Pahalgam under the supervision of Mahant Dipindra Giri. Although there was a significant shortage of devotees due to the coronavirus pandemic, local devotees were present at the Martand Surya Temple in Mattan during the holy Ashnan. On this occasion, Mahant Dipendra Giri said that it is very important to organize the yatra, while in the current situation the number of pilgrims or the choice of alternative route does not matter. He said that this holy pilgrimage has been going on in Kashmir for centuries which is confirmed by holy books like Brengish Reshi. While reviewing the preparations for the yatra, the chief secretary said a maximum of 500 pilgrims only would be allowed per day by road from Jammu towards the cave shrine.