We had visited the shrine as well as the Valley of Flowers nearby. I was pained when the news of the suspension of the pilgrimage to the shrine in wake of the natural calamity in Uttrakhand on June 16 was aired.
It made me happy to hear the news on the TV that the pilgrimage to Hemkund Sahib has resumed on last Saturday with Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna flagging off a batch of nearly 100 pilgrims from Govindghat to the shrine.
According to the vice chairman of Shri Hemkund Sahib Management Trust, Narendrajit Singh Bindra, the flag-off of the resumed pilgrimage took place after bhog and a ceremonial recitation of Akhand Path at Govindghat.
The shrine, at a height of 15,200 feet, is visited every year by lakhs of devotees, trekkers and tourists. Now, a 6 km stretch of the trek route to the Gurudwara has been repaired that was washed away completely due the deluge, soon the normal large scale pilgrimage will begin.
Massive restoration efforts by Hemkund Sahib Management Trust and the state government have made it possible to resume the pilgrimage. The shrine is high above the tree line with a small blue-green lake fed by water which cascades down from the surrounding mountain walls.
Sikhs believe that Hemkund is the place of meditation and prayer at which their tenth and final living Guru Gobind Singh Sahib achieved union with God in his previous incarnation. For Sikhs, the pilgrimage to the shrine and the holy ice-lake liked to faith of fulfillment of their wishes for a happy life.