AMARNATH YATRA

PILGRIMAGE

 
Shandawari Shiva-Yatra To-Sheeshnag Rain Rain Col
Camp Camp Walk Ascencion Pause Crowd
Ascencion Play Play Last-effort Santsinghpari Pilgrims
Pilgrims Amravati Purification Yatrists Amarnath_grotto Prayers
Bells Bells Grotto Crowd Descent Baltal

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After that long train ride, and several fully-loaded buses on bumpy roads and rough dirt tracks, constantly stopped by huge military convoys or ill-timed minesweeping, we reached the small village of Shandawari. Sole westerners among hundreds of Hindu devotees ready to start their "Amarnath Yatra" pilgrimage, we followed for five days these "yatrists" towards the sacred grotto where Shiva, as the legend has it, retired to prey and think about the world. In mountains isolated by snow-covered cols, the sacred grotto, a cavity on a huge rock face, still protects the destruction God's "lingam", proof of his power. For nearly two months, thousands of pilgrims, from every casts and from all over India, follow each other, sleep and eat under military tents scattered in the Kashmir mountains.