JAMMU, INDIA, August 2, 2002 (Daily Excelsior): Maintaining the age old tradition, the Chhari Pujan was performed at Amreshwar temple in Dashnami Akhara building Srinagar on the occasion of Nag Panchmi today by Lt, Governor, Manoj Sinha, who is also the chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), Mahant Deependra Giri Ji Maharaj, the sole custodian of holy mace of Shri Amarnath Ji and Sadhus. Sinha said that performing Chhari Pujan on the occasion of Nag Panchmi is one of the important rituals prior to the culmination of the annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji. He said the holy Amarnath yatra will culminate with the taking of the silver mace of Lord Shiva to the cave shrine by Mahant Ji on August 11. He said over 300,000 pilgrims have so far visited the holy cave and performed darshan of Ice Lingam there.

However, the Ice Lingam is not in the same form now due to heat. He also advised the yatris intending to perform the pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji this year to visit holy cave before August 5 as the weather may turn hostile again. Meanwhile, the yatra to the holy cave which was suspended yesterday due to inclement weather and heavy downpour from both Baltal and Chandanwari tracks was resumed today. On 34th day of yatra 2,821 pilgrims drawn from different parts of the country performed darshan of the naturally formed ice Lingam cave shrine situated at an altitude of 12,700 feet above the sea level in deep Himalayas in South Kashmir district of Anantnag. The holy mace will leave for the cave shrine from Dashnami Akhara on August 7 and after paying obeisance at Hindu temples and shrines en route it will have two days stay on August 7 and 8 at Pahalgam and on August 9 it will leave for onwards sojourn.

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