A photo story capturing the journey of Amarnath yatris in Jammu and Kashmir
Photos by Javeed Shah | August 23, 2018
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.
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.
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.
Ponies rest and wait for pilgrims to take up to the cave shrine. A child, meanwhile, gets a ride on a relative’s shoulders.
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.
To take speedy decisions on research and development for Sars-Cov-2 virus and COVID-19, the government has constituted a Science and Technology Empowered Committee. The committee, set up on March 19 and chaired by Niti Aayog member, professor Vinod Paul and professor K Vijay Raghavan, princi
Covid-19 may turn out to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back so far as the real estate sector is concerned. It broke out at a time when pundits were estimating the GDP to be hovering around 2.5% with unprecedent levels of unemployment. This itself was a good indicator that the real estate s
As COVID -19 cases continue to rise amid a 21-day lockdown, the centre and the states are proactively taking measures to provide aid to the underprivileged and the needy during this unprecedented situation. By Sunday morning, India had registered 27
In the thick of battle with the deadly coronavirus, India on March announced a 21-day lockdown till April 14 in its bid to control the spread of virus which has so far led to 10 people’s death and over 600 others falling sick across the country. As per experts, India, which is in the second stage of
As the nation battles the Coronavirus outbreak, a billion-plus population is confined at home in the 21-day lockdown, and this is leading to mental health concerns. “It is a tough time and we need to be stable to get thorough. People must rationalise their irrational thoughts without
Scare following the outbreak of Covid-19 has led some people to turn to vigilantism, harassing people at the frontline of fighting the disease and keeping the country running amid the lockdown. Earlier this week, the medical associations had made representations before home minister Amit Sha