Srinagar, Aug 3: Amid tight security, Chhari Mubarak, the holy mace of Lord Shiva, was today taken to the ancient Sharika-Bhawani Temple on the Hari Parbat hillock here for the traditional prayers marking the annual Amarnath Yatra.
Borne by its custodian Mahant Deependra Giri who was accompanied by a group of sadhus and devotees, the mace was taken to the temple in the downtown area of the city to pay obeisance to the Goddess Sharika-Bhawani on the occasion of Shravan Shukla Paksha Pradipada.
The Goddess, popularly known as Tripurasundari among the mystics, is believed to be "Isht Devi" -- the presiding deity of Srinagar who manifested herself in a figure of a Shila (Holy Rock) at Hari-Parbat, a spokesperson of the 'True Trust', founded by Giri in 2004, said.
After Chhari-Sthapana on August 5, the holy mace shall be kept in Shri Amareshwar Temple, Akhara Building in Budshah Chowk here for people to pay obeisance till it leaves for main pilgrimage on August 13.
Traditional Chhari Pujan (prayer) shall be performed on the occasion of Nag-Panchami which falls on August 7 at the Shri Amareshwar Temple, the spokesperson said.
The holy mace will begin its journey from Srinagar to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas on August 13 with night halts at Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarani along the traditional 46-km Pahalgam-cave route.
On August 18, day-long prayers would be offered to the the 'Chhari Mubarak' at the cave shrine on the occasion of 'Raksha-Bandhan' and 'Shravan Purnima', marking the conclusion of the official 48-day yatra.
The annual yatra commenced from the twin routes of Pahalgam in Anantnag district and shorter 12-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district on July 2.
The Amarnath Yatra had to be suspended thrice following outbreak of violence in the Kashmir Valley in the wake of the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.