Amid tight security arrangements, the annual yatra to Gangbal Lake, which Kashmiri Pandits consider as the abode of Lord Shiva, started on Monday.
Unnamed officials told a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that the pilgrims started the yatra on Monday. “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no flagging off event from Naranag took place while the number of pilgrims was also curtailed,” they said. They said that the team members of HGGT and APMCC have left for the yatra after performing Puja at Naranag.
Members will trek to Gangabal Lake, which is located around 14,500 feet above sea level in the Harmukh mountain range. The lake is also known as Harmakut Ganga. They further added that the team members of HGGT and APMCC will also perform ceremonial Chhari Puja and members will also do ‘pind daan’ and ‘shraad’ at the lake on Ganga Ashtami that falls on 26 August.
The team members who are undertaking this year’s Yatra are Anil Bhat, President HGGT, Pradeep Pandita, senior coordinator APMCC-HGGT, Vinay Kaul, Rajinder Bushan, Rajeev Pandita, Ajay Sharma, Ashutosh Raina, Anil Bushan and Sandeep Kaul.
The HGGT-APMCC thanked Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone, Commander Sector 3, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ganderbal, Commanding officer 24 RR, senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ganderbal for taking adequate measures to ensure smooth conduct of Yatra—(KNO)