Friday, August 1, 2014
Belying the forecast of a weak monsoon season, heavy rains took a toll of the Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra – 2014 as the Kullu administration decided to suspend it for the year.
The decision to suspend the tough pilgrimage ascending to over 18,500 feet was taken after death of five pilgrims was reported.
With the weather conditions deteriorating, landslides occurring on the route fear unforeseen danger of melting glaciers causing calamities, the administration was forced to call of the pilgrimage.
The 32 Km route has been blocked at several places by landslides and avalanches. The peak and its surroundings have received unusual snow for this time of the year.
It has been raining continuously for days, which has caused a drastic drop in the temperature. The yatra was officially scheduled from 16th July to 25th July.
The Shrikhand Mahadev yatra is considered to be one of the toughest pilgrimages in North India. The broken or khandit lingam of Lord Shiva is located at an altitude of 18,500 feet.
Every year the government issues public notices, that only the physically fit and those accustomed to tough terrains should embark on this journey. Already five people have died this year due to extreme cold and low oxygen levels.
The decision to suspend the yatra was taken on 19th July, after the successful completion of a massive rescue operation to save 400 trapped pilgrims.
Mr. Rakesh Kanwar, deputy commissioner, Kullu, stated that the yatra had become too risky.
He said that his rescue teams had reported that there were many points on the route that could pose life threatening danger to the pilgrims.
So bad was the condition this year that people organizing langars and camping facilities have also closed shop.
The government has forewarned that all individuals who choose to undertake the journey will do so at their own responsibility, and the administration will not be held responsible in case of a mishap.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (Feb or March) every year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Maharashtra marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga.