Girnar 'parikrama' begins, 10 lakh pilgrims participating

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Junagadh, Nov 21 (UNI) The traditional 'parikrama' of Mount Girnar commences from tonight, in which over 10 lakh pilgrims are expected to participate, according to District Forest Officer B T Chadasaniya.

Speaking to UNI, Mr Chadasaniya said last year, six lakh pilgrims visited the shrine. This year, the number has increased nearly four-fold.

The event opens ceremoniously with the firing of guns by officials at midnight. Interestingly, even before the ritual could begin, over two lakh pilgrims had already completed their 'parikrama' in the last fortnight. But as usual, the traditional parikrama starts tonight on the auspicious occasion of 'Dev Diwali' and several lakhs are thronging the holy place, he said.

The pilgrims gather at the footsteps of Gir Taleti in the evening. Those who will attend the ceremony include district collector Ashwini Kumar Yadav, Inspector General of Police Mohan Jha, SP Shailesh Katara, president of Akhil Bharatiya Sadhu Samaj (Saurashtra region) Mahant Gopalanandasji, Mahant of Ambaji temple on Mt Girnar Tansuk Giriji, local MLA M Mashroo, District Forest Officer B T Chadasaniya, RFO M N Parmar (south range, Girnar) and S K Jadeja (RFO of north range).

The 'parikrama' will officially close on Karthik Purnima which falls on November 25.

The history of 'parikrama' can be traced to ancient times and it comprises arduous 36 km long trek through the forest with three night halts.

UNI

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