Heavy rain forecast, Shrikhand Mahadev pilgrims in Himachal warned

Heavy rain forecast, Shrikhand Mahadev pilgrims in Himachal warned

Moderate to heavy rain may occur across Himachal Pradesh this week and authorities Monday advised devotees to avoid the Shrikhand Mahadev pilgrimage, considered a tougher journey than the climb to the Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir.

An advisory has been issued to pilgrims as chances of heavy rain and landslides are high over the next three days from July 17, Kullu Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kanwar told IANS.

The first batch of over 2,000 devotees is set to leave Jaon village, the base camp, around 150 km from here, Tuesday.

The pilgrims scale the 17,600-feet Shrikhand Mahadev peak in Kullu district to pay obeisance to a giant natural rock resembling the Shiva Lingam.

The pilgrimage will officially continue till July 23. This year, the authorities expect over 20,000 pilgrims.

Manmohan Singh, director of the state meteorological department, said Himachal Pradesh was likely to experience heavy spells of rain from Wednesday.

He said there are chances of very heavy rain (124.5-244.4 mm) en route to the Shrikhand Mahadev peak July 19.

Devotees believe that Lord Shiva meditated at Shrikhand and the Pandvas too had trekked to the peak.

After passing through rugged, cold and inhospitable terrain, the 30-km one-way journey on foot concludes at Shrikhand Mahadev peak, where the devotees pay obeisance to the 72-foot-tall lingam.

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