Art & Culture Current Affairs - 2019
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S Jaishankar, Union Minister of External Affairs flags off the first batch of pilgrims (yatris) from New Delhi, for this years’ Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
The duration of pilgrimage is 24 days for each batch including 3 days in Delhi for preparatory work. The pilgrimage which started in 1981 now sees participation of thousands of devotees every year.
About Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
- The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is undertaken by two routes, via-
- Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand– This route passes through a very mountainous area.
- Nathu La Pass in Sikkim– This route opened a few years ago in Sikkim is fully motorable. It requires minimum walking and therefore helps senior citizens who are unable to undertake arduous trekking, to participate in yatra.
- Itinerary: The Yatra involves a treacherous route that crosses territorial boundaries of India, Nepal and China. According to Yatra scheduled this year, 18 batches of 60 pilgrims each will trek across the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand and 10 batches consisting of 50 pilgrims each will go via the Nathula route to Sikkim.
- Importance: This pilgrimage plays an important step towards promoting people to people exchanges, strengthening friendship and understanding between India and China.
- Organised by:
- The yatra is organised with support from governments of Delhi, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and also with cooperation of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The Government of China also extended the support in organising the annual yatra.
- The logistical support and facilities for pilgrims in India is providea by Uttarakhands’ Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC) and their associated organisations.
Tags: Indo Tibetan Border Police • Kailash Mansarovar Yatra • Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2019 • Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam • Lipulekh Pass • Nathu La Pass • S Jaishankar • Sikkim • Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation • Union Minister of External Affairs • Uttarakhand
With commencement of annual festival of Kheer Bhawani Mela on Zeasht Ashtami, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit devotees prayed at famous Ragnya Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) Ganderbal district.
An elaborate security arrangement was made by J&K administration so that mela passed off peacefully for devotees who thronged temple from across the country.
- Every year on Zyeshta Ashtami (this year fell on 10 June), thousands of Kashmiri Pandits visit temple, located about 14 km east of Srinagar, to pay their obeisance. Zyestha Ashtami is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits across the country and outside as the day marks commencing of annual pilgrimage.
- Temples Visited: Over 60,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits from various parts of India as well as abroad visited five famous temples of Tulmulla (in Ganderbal district), Tikker (in Kupwara), Laktipora Aishmuqam (in Anantnag) and Mata Tripursundri Devsar and Mata Kheerbhawani Manzgam (in Kulgam district) in Kashmir valley during Mela Kheerbhawani.
About Mela Kheer Bhawani
- It is one of the biggest religious functions of displaced community of Kashmiri Pandits, who were forcefully evicted from Valley in 1990s by militants.
- The devotees carry rose petals, walk barefoot, offer tribute to goddess and offer milk and kheer (pudding) at sacred spring.
- Belief: The colour of water in spring, which flows below temple, is believed to be an indication of the valley’s well-being i.e. the colour foretells the events that will unfold in next 12 months till next festival. Black or darkish colour of water in spring is believed to be a sign of inauspicious times for Kashmir valley. This time, the water in spring was of clean and milky white colour.
- Significance: The pilgrimage has become a symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood as Muslims in locality make all kinds of arrangements for the Kashmiri Pandits devotees, such as setting up of stalls for flowers and other offerings, offering milk in small earthen pots to devotees coming to pray.