Srinagar, July 19 : Devotees here participated in the annual ritual of 'Chhari Mubarak' or the Holy Mace of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. The 'Chhari Mubarak' is carried every year from the city's ancient Shankaracharya Temple to the Amarnath cave shrine during a month-long pilgrimage. Special prayers were held at the temple devoted to Lord Shiva, after the holy men led by chief priest Mahant Dipender Giri left with the 'Chhari Mubarak' for Pahalgam. "Since it is a pilgrimage and our scriptures and holy texts also say that yatra starts from Sharad Purnima to Shraawan Purnima. The best occasion to pay tribute is Shraawan Purnima, that is Raksha Bandhan, this year which falls on August 16," the Mahant said.
The mace will be kept in Pahalgam for two days and on the third day the chief priest will take it to the Amarnath shrine. The month-long pilgrimage will come to an end on Raksha Bandhan, the full moon day on August 16, when the main rituals will be held inside the Amarnath cave. After this, the 'Chhari Mubarak' will be brought back to Jammu, where it will remain until the pilgrimage next year.
Legend has it that the cave was discovered by a Muslim shepherd, Adam Malik, four centuries ago. His descendants still receive a share of the cash and other offerings made by devotees to the Hindu god at the cave.