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HomeHimachal PradeshShrikhand Yatra in Himachal starts on July 7, here’s a sneak-peek into...

Shrikhand Yatra in Himachal starts on July 7, here’s a sneak-peek into the arduous trek, might landscapes and how it all began

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The Newz Radar

MANDI: In a welcome news for Lord Shiva devotees eagerly awaiting the dates for the arduous Shrikhand Yatra in Himachal Pradesh, the Kullu district administration has decided to commence the annual pilgrimage from July 7 this year, almost two weeks ahead of the normal scheduled date.

Around 50,000 devotees annually participate in the pilgrimage, which envisages a trek to Shrikhand Mahadev Peak in Anni, situated at a height of 18,570 feet above the sea level.
The decision to start the pilgrimage early was taken after the district administration held a meeting with the trustees of the Shrikhand Trust, taking into account the adverse weather and the safety of pilgrims. In the past, the journey would begin after the arrival of monsoon and coincided with the auspicious Sawan month.

Devotees have to take a steep 25-km trek to reach Shrikhand Mahadev Peak, a journey that is considered one of the toughest in the Himalayas and is only recommended for experienced trekkers. The trek takes one through picturesque valleys, dense forests and steep rocky slopes, culminating in a breathtaking view of the Shrikhand Mahadev Peak, which is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The trek requires a high level of physical fitness and endurance as it involves climbing and descending steep slopes, crossing glaciers and camping in high-altitude points.

On numerous occasions, pilgrims have lost their lives during the journey. The trek takes three to five days starting from Jaon in Nirmand. As devotees climb uphill, they are able to witness majestic and awe-inspiring landscapes, wide meadows, mighty glaciers and gushing rivulets. After visiting beautiful places like Singhgad, Thachdu, Nayan Sarovar, Bheemdwari and Parvati Bagh, they pay obeisance to a 72-foot-high lingam present in the form of a gigantic natural rock at the Shrikhand Mahadev Peak.

Though all devotees have to undergo a detailed health check-up, the challenging path, aroma of medicinal herbs, oxygen deficiency and sub-freezing temperature pose a threat to devotees. Over the past few years, the administration has started putting up tents en route to the peak, besides deploying a team of doctors and rescue personnel, making the pilgrimage much safer and enjoyable.

The legend goes that a demon named Bhasmasur once, through his penance, pleased Lord Shiva, who asked him to seek a blessing. The demon sought “Basma Kangan”, a power that enabled him to convert anything he touched into ash. Drenched in his ego and pride, Bhasmasur then thought of turning Lord Shiva into ash. Lord Shiva vanished into the cave and appeared on the mountain top while taking the help of Lord Vishnu, who transformed himself into a female enchanter, Mohini, and tricked Bhasmasur to touch his own head, resulting which he himself was reduced to a pile of ash. The mountain peak where Lord Shiva stood has come to be known as Shrikhand Mahadev.

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