Baltal area in picturesque Sonamarg, which is one of the two base camps for Amarnath Yatris, is witnessing a festive atmosphere these days.
Like each year dozens of local service providers have reached the base camp at Dumail to set up their temporary shops and other establishments to provide different services to pilgrims. Ponywallas and laborers are also busy making preparations for the Yatra.
The 45 days long pilgrimage will commence on July 1, from Pahalgam in South Kashmir, and Baltal in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
The pilgrims have to trek treacherous mountains route to reach the cave shrine, located at an altitude of 12700 ft. Most of the pilgrims hire ponies for the holy journey.
These days, blacksmiths are in demand to fix fresh metallic horseshoes to hooves of the animal to protect them from wear and tear on hard and mountainous track. While some pilgrims hire laborers to carry them to cave shrine others hire ponies for the journey.
“The horses have to trek difficult tracks so we have to replace their worn-out metallic shoes with new ones,” said a Ponywala, Javeed Ahmad.