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: Javed Jaffrey

After his much-appreciated debut in Meri Jung in 1985, Javed Jaffrey inspired a new generation of dancers. He then turned from dance to comedy. The versatile actor constantly changes his styles and his live, film, TV and radio appearances always promise novelty and surprise. In 2014 he joined the Aam A

Allegations against CJI: Inquiry will strengthen the independence of the judiciary

Yes, we must stand rock solid with the judiciary and the judges. We must protect the independence of the judiciary too. What does this mean in the present context of a very serious charge of sexual harassment levelled by a former employee of the court against the CJI?  We are told that there is a larg

“Managing data is challenging”

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is a society set up by the railways ministry in July 1986 to provide IT related services to the Indian Railways. CRIS deals in a gamut of functions, like passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement,

A boost to those who need it most

What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its

Expanding Eureka!

Abright yellow van with figures of children playing with a whirligig, a Newton’s cradle, a magnetic compass rolls into the Government Higher Primary School in Kittaganahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Students in the playground leave what they are doing and mill about it in excitement. For they

The spark in the classroom

Not many children dream of starting an idyllic school of their own when they grow up. But Ramji Raghavan, founder of the Agastya International Foundation – which fosters the creative learning of science in stude



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter