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Thousands of faithful rally for Lum Sohpetbneng pilgrimage

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SHILLONG, Feb 4: Thousands of devout followers of the Khasi indigenous faith embarked on their annual pilgrimage to Lum Sohpetbneng, the revered summit considered the “navel of heaven,” on Sunday.
Serving as one of the most significant religious gathering, now in its 25th year since its revival in 2000, the summit draws faithful believers from across the state to partake in rituals and prayers.
“The pandemic had put the annual pilgrimage at a temporary halt, wherein only limited people could take part in it, but since last year, people are thronging back, coming in thousands to pray in the pilgrimage site, which for us is, one of the most important events,” said, Païa Synrem, vice president of Seng Khasi Kmie.
At the heart of the pilgrimage lies the belief that the Khasi people descended from the celestial realm, symbolised by the sacred Lum Sohpetbneng. Rituals and prayers were led by revered elders and culminated in seeking blessings for the faithful as they converged upon the Altar of the Sacred Lum Sohpetbneng, known as Ka Duwan ka Dupat Sohpetbneng.
Prior to the pilgrimage, customary ceremonies were held at Lum Dorbar, Lawnongthroh, and Mei Mawbuh, culminating in the sacred journey to the summit. The Lehniam Shi Hat Shi Taiew ritual, performed a week prior, is believed to offer divine guidance and validate prayers, reinforcing the spiritual significance of the pilgrimage.
Organized by the Seng Khasi Kmie, and is meant to strengthen one’s essence (Ka Rngiew). The inaugural pilgrimage in 1999, was led by elders and visionary figures who laid the foundation for preserving and expanding the faith through rituals, shaping its future for generations to come.
Upon reaching Lum Sohpetbneng, elders perform rituals to sanctify the Altar, seeking blessings for the community’s well-being and protection of the land. The belief endures that maintaining a clear and pure heart and soul paves the path to heaven.

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