The annual Amarnath Yatra concluded today. This year’s Yatra that started on June 29th saw over Two lakh fifty nine thousand devotees making it to the Holy cave and having Dardshan of the ice stalagmite structure symbolizing mythical powers of Shiva.
The annual Amarnath Yatra this year was considered as a logistical challenge for the government and central security forces in the wake of a spike in militancy in the Valley. Besides high-altitude hazards and sub-zero temperatures, the yatris had to brace up for facing the volatile South Kashmir, through which the yatra convoys had to pass.
Situated at 3,888 metres above the sea level in Himalayas, the cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the size of the visible moon.
Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure symbolizes mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
The cave is approached by pilgrims either through the 46-km long traditional Pahalagam-Chandanwari-Sheshnag-Panchtarni trek or through the 14-km long Baltal-Dumail trek. Helicopter services are also available for the pilgrims both at Baltal and Pahalgam.
A regular annual feature for decades, the Yatra has become a symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood in Kashmir.
As Hindus from various parts of the country and even abroad track to the holy cave, their arduous journey of faith can hardly be imagined at scale without active participation from thousands of Kashmiri Muslim.
From base camps to the cave, every stage of this Yatra witnesses Kashmiri Muslims playing a pivotal role to their spiritual quest.
While this tradition of religious harmony, commonly known as Kashmiriyat has been an unblemished tradition in the Valley, this year an attempt was made to tarnish it.
In an inhuman and cowardly attack on yatris, in Anantnag eight pilgrims were killed while 19 others were injured.
The attack , was a deliberate attempt to malign Kashmir as well as create a communal furor.
As expected, Kashmir rose in unison against this dastardly act. People from every walk of the life condemned this act of terror unequivocally. People took to streets and made it amply clear that there was no place for such acts and ideology in the secular abode of Kashmir.
As the Yatra concludes, it leaves us with a lesson. Lesson, that there are people who want to create hatred in the name of religion. And lesson, that Kashmiri Muslims not only did condone such acts but rise against them.