A delegation comprising cultural ambassadors, writers and editors from Uttarakhand today called upon President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi and invited him to join the Nanda Devi Raj Jat yatra next year.
Led by Tarun Vijay, Rajya Sabha MP from Uttarakhand, the 15-member delegation, including Prabhat Shah Gangola, president of the Nanda Raj Jat Organising Samiti of Kumaon and Almora, and Jagar singer of international fame Basanti Bisht met Pranab and formally invited him to join the yatra at a point where he could come on a helicopter. Basanti enthralled the President with her rendition of Nanda Devi hymns in Garhwali language.
The President showed keen interest in the activities and blessed the efforts for the conduct of the yatra. He said such yatras were a great occasion for national unity and social harmony and he would certainly examine if he could join the spiritual journey.
The Nanda Devi Raj Jat yatra is world’s longest spiritual yatra, which involves 280 km of trekking in high altitude mountains, and is completed in 19 days. It symbolises the return of the daughter of the deity of Uttarakhand, Maa Nanda Devi, to Kailash, the abode of Shiva, every twelfth year. It is also a story of the difficult life of women of Uttarakhand and their emotional bondage with their mothers. Occurring every 12th year with a recorded history of more than 900 years, the yatra is also called Himalayan Kumbh of Uttarakhand. It passes through most difficult terrain of the Himalayas like Roop Kund at an altitude of 17,500 ft and completes at Hom Kund.
The yatra is being held for the first time after the formation of Uttarakhand and hence there is an enhanced sense of festivities and preparation.
Tarun Vijay has been campaigning for the successful completion of the yatra for the last six months as he is the chairman of Shri Nanda Raj Jat Poorv Peethika (preparatory) Committee. There are only three months for preparation because during the winter no work can take place in the upper regions of Garhwal.