Amarnath Yatra: A journey of faith and harmony

This Yatra attracts hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims from across India
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 00:20 IST

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The annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath Holy Cave shrine in south Kashmir manifests both religious devotion and communal harmony.

This Yatra attracts hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims from across India. The local Muslims facilitate the Yatris, be it with their hospitality or by providing ponies, pithus (rucksacks), and palkis (palanquins) to help them reach the abode of Lord Shiva.

The local Muslim community plays a crucial role in ensuring the pilgrims' safety and comfort, demonstrating a spirit of unity that transcends religious boundaries

“We see the pilgrims as our guests,” says Ghulam Ahmed Dar, who has been providing palanquin services to the Yatris for over a decade. “In our culture, guests are considered a blessing, and we do everything in our power to ensure they have a safe and comfortable journey.”

Afaq Wani, who offers transport services to the pilgrims, echoes this sentiment. “Our religion, Islam, teaches us to be kind to everyone regardless of colour, caste, creed, or religion. In the Quran, Allah says: ‘Help one another in acts of piety and righteousness,’” he explains. Wani participates annually in a special prayer for the Yatra in the Mattan area of Anantnag district.

The logistical support provided by local Muslims is deeply appreciated by Hindu devotees, who often express their gratitude for the warm hospitality.

Ramesh Kumar, a devotee from Punjab, shares his experience: “The warmth and support we receive from the local Muslim community are overwhelming. They go out of their way to help us, often in very challenging conditions. This Yatra would not be possible without their dedication and kindness.”

Meena, another pilgrim, recalls an instance when a Muslim family helped her when she fell sick on the trek. “Their care and concern were no less than what I would have received from my own family. This is the real spirit of India, where humanity rises above religious differences,” she says.

In Kashmir, often portrayed as a strife-torn region, the Yatra stands as a symbol of unity and mutual respect. It weaves a tapestry of harmony, in defiance of the terrorists.

“This Yatra is a microcosm of what India truly is,” says Shabir Ahmad, a volunteer managing a community kitchen during the Yatra. “People of different faiths coming together sends a powerful message of peace and unity,” he adds.

Published 22 June 2024, 00:20 IST

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