Pilgrims walk through a wooden bridge over Manimahesh Lake near Manimahesh Kailash Peak in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalaya during Manimahesh Kailash Peak yatra, in Himachal Pradesh's Chamba. Image Source: IANS

Shimla, July 16 : The annual pilgrimage to the oval-shaped glacial-fed Manimahesh Lake, dedicated to Lord Shiva, located at an altitude of 13,500 feet in Himachal Pradesh's Chamba district, scheduled next month has been cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Thursday.

This year the fortnight-long pilgrimage was planned from August 11. However, all religious traditions and customs relating to the pilgrimage will be performed in a limited symbolic manner.

The decision to cancel the pilgrimage, which is considered as arduous as the trek to the Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, was taken at a meeting of the Sri Manimahesh Trust at Bharmour in Chamba district on Wednesday.

For big and small "shahi snan", only limited permission would be given to three-four people each from Chamba's Dashnam Akhada, Charpat Nath and Chaurasi temple complex to proceed towards the Manimahesh Lake.

Every year, people trek to the lake in the Bharmour Valley to catch a glimpse of Mount Kailash, believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, and offer prayers.

The uphill journey starts at around 6,000 feet in Hadsar.

The commencing of the pilgrimage coincides with Janmashtami, the festival celebrating Lord Krishna's birth.

It is believed that the devotees can view Mount Kailash only if the Lord is pleased. When the peak is hidden behind clouds, it is a sign of the lord's unhappiness, believers say.

-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text

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