STORY: The annual Hindu pilgrimage, Amarnath yatra, is not just important for the devotees but has also been playing an essential part in the lives of the local traders in Indian Kashmir for years now.
Local residents of a Muslim majority Indian Kashmir, mostly from parts of Baltal, Chandanwari, Sonamarg and Pahalgam areas earn a major part of their livelihood through the two month annual pilgrimage. We eagerly wait for the pilgrims every year to come as it boosts our business, as well as that of the tent people, and also that of the ponnies owners said a local shopkeeper, Bashrat Ahmad on Tuesday (July 17). For some locals the sale that the yatra brings is their only source of income.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit the Amarnath cave shrine – one of the holiest Hindu shrines located 12,000 feet (3,658 m) above sea level in the picturesque Lidder Valley – to offer prayers to an ice stalagmite believed to be a symbol of Lord Shiva. This year the Amarnath yatra which started on the 28th of June 2018 will conclude on the 26th of August 2018.
The amaranth yatra although a Hindu pilgrimage, is significant in giving livelihood to the residents of a Muslim majority Indian Kashmir.