Driven by Bhakti

A photo story capturing the journey of Amarnath yatris in Jammu and Kashmir

Photos by Javeed Shah | August 23, 2018


#Photo Story   #Jammu and Kashmir   #Amarnath Yatra  


A curving throng of devotees outside the cave shrine of Amarnath, where water dripping from the ceiling freezes into a cylindrical mound worshipped by the devout as a Shivling. Legend has it that it was discovered by Bhrigu Muni, a rishi. Texts dating to the 11th century and to the Mughal era have been cited referring to the shrine. The most recent ‘discovery’ of the shrine is attributed to a shepherd called Buta Malik in the mid-19th century. Since then pilgrims have been visiting the shrine by the thousands daily during the Amarnath Yatra season, making the five-day journey from Pahalgam on foot or pony, braving, in recent decades, militancy, in addition to the weather and the steep mountain path. More than 2.6 lakh have already visited it this year.

cave shrine of Amarnath

Rendered into toy figures by the tall, dark mountains and the stark white expanses of ice and snow, a string of pilgrims on ponies led by pony-walas who double up as guides makes its way towards the cave shrine. Of late, global warming has been a major concern in the Himalayas, considered by scientists to be the ‘Third Pole’. If the increased rate of glacial melting is a scientific concern, pilgrims worry about what global warming could do to the ice Shivling.
 

cave shrine of Amarnath

Incongruous in this looming, mountainous diorama, two pilgrims seem like office-goers but for the trekking sticks. The ambulances made available by the government make the Yatra safer for pilgrims who are unable to take the strains imposed by the high altitudes.

 

cave shrine of Amarnath

Ponies rest and wait for pilgrims to take up to the cave shrine. A child, meanwhile, gets a ride on a relative’s shoulders.


cave shrine of Amarnath


There have been many terrorist attacks on Amarnath pilgrims in this state beset by miltancy. Only last year, seven people were killed. Understandably, security is a major concern. This year, over 40,000 CRPF and state police personnel have been deployed to secure the yatris’ safety.

Comments

 

Other News

On a personal note: DIVINE

An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention. The Hindi film ‘Gully Boy’ is inspired by their lives and gr

The role model for an IAS officer

Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book publis

Reform of the civil services: At home and away

The question of reform of the civil services has been debated extensively at all levels at least over the last five to six decades after independence. Indeed, it was soon perceived that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) may not be well equipped to deal with the problems of an emerging developing coun

The greatest challenge for any government

Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government

The mysterious case of CBI’s legality

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came into existence, based on a Resolution of the home ministry, dated April 1, 1963 – a sheer coincidence that it also happens to be April Fool’s day. Over the past few months, we have seen the CBI live up to its founding day with great zeal, being i

The Evolution of Modi

Gujarat was passing through a turbulent phase in the 1980s. The decade began middle class agitations against new reservation policies, and the caste friction turned communal under the watch of chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, alienating majority of urban population on both counts. The ground was ripe for

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter