Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat flagged off 'Chhadi Yatra' from Haridwar on Saturday, reviving a practice initiated by Adi Guru Shankaracharya in the eighth century to promote Hinduism.
Led by Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri with a sacred 'chhadi' (stick) in hand, the yatra will conclude in Haridwar after covering the four Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
The sacred stick will reach Kedarnath and Badrinath via Yamunotri and Gangotri, the ABAP president said.
From Badrinath it will be taken to the major pilgrimage spots in the Kumaon region before being brought to the Joona Akhara and installed at the Maya Devi temple, he said.
The yatra will take nearly a month.
Earlier, the sacred stick used to be taken from Bageshwar to the revered shrines in the Himalayas.
The practice of the sacred stick being taken from Haridwar to the char dham is being started in view of the 2021 Kumbh which will be held in Haridwar.
Rawat flagged off the yatra from the Maya Devi temple after special prayers and rituals were performed by seers of the 13 Akharas participating in the yatra to mark the revival of a tradition stopped in the British era due to a number of restrictions imposed on it, the ABAP president said.
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