Uttarakhand’s ancient Chhadi Yatra (holy mace) from Haridwar to Bageshwar has been curtailed this year to 72 hours due to a record number of positive cases of Covid -19 seen recently in the Himalayan state. The yatra was a month-long affair last year.
The Chhadi Yatra in Uttarakhand is almost similar to the Chhadi Mubarak event carried out in Jammu & Kashmir prior to the opening of the revered Shri Amarnath shrine. It is believed that the Bageshwar-Haridwar Chhadi Yatra pilgrimage dates back to one thousand years and was stalled only for a brief period during the British rule.
On the banks of the sacred Gomti and Darati rivers in Bageshwar at Bagnath temple, the mace is worshipped.
Shri Panch Dashnami Juna Akhada revived this pilgrimage last year after a hiatus of seven decades. It is now being carried out under Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad banner.
While on Sunday the yatra reached Bageshwar, on Monday, it will return to the revered shrine of Mayadevi and special rituals will be held at Shri Daksheshwar Mahadev temple here.
Ganga Sabha will also hold special Ganga prayers for the holy mace at the sanctum sanctorum of Brahamkund, Har-Ki-Pauri.
Shri Mahant Prem Giri, national chairperson of Juna Akhada, said initially the Chhadi Yatra was to be held for a months’ duration but due to the Covid pandemic, the pilgrimage is being done symbolically with full rituals.
Sub divisional magistrate, Haridwar, Gopal Singh Chauhan, said the pilgrimage holds immense significance and providence of facilities to the saints accompanying the mace has been put in place.
“Last time the month long Chhadi Yatra covered Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Poornagiri Dham, Jageshwar Dham, Binsar Mahadev, Mayakund, Gobindghat, Janki Chatti, Bhatwadi, Koteshwar, Guptkashi, Gopeshwar, Dangoli, Someshwar, Bageshwar , Tanakpur, Pitthoragarh, Kashipur and other places in both Garhwal and Kumaon divisions of the state,” said Akhada Parishad general secretary Mahant Hari Giri Maharaj.
Akhada Parishad office bearers said that earlier the plan was to start the Chhadi Yatra prior to commencement of Char Dham pilgrimage but due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent restrictions, the pilgrimage got deferred this year.