Amarnath yatra means more than business for local service providers

‘Being hosts we ensure that our guests don’t face any inconvenience’
Amarnath yatra means more than business for local service providers

For the local Muslims who are the major service providers to it, the AmarnathYatra means more than doing a business and earning livelihood.

Braving the difficult trek, rains, and hot and humid weatherconditions en route the shrine cave, the local services provides including ponyoperators and palanquin bearers manage to provide safe and comfortable journeyto the Amarnath pilgrims.

The Kashmiri Muslims make a major part of the serviceproviders facilitating the annual Hindu pilgrimage every year.

Hundreds of locals every year also put up stalls at the basecamps at Baltal in Central Kashmir's Ganderbal district and Pahalgam in southKashmir, offering different kinds of materials for the pilgrims.

Besides providing business to the locals, the AmarnathYatraalso showcases the bond between Kashmiris and the pilgrims.

"We are coming here for years now to provide services to thepilgrims who reach base camp and then leave for the holy cave for Darshan,"Mohammad Akbar, a local service provider said, adding that cutting across thereligious lines "we being hosts ensure that our guests don't face anyinconvenience."

"The yatra doesn't mean only business for us. Besidesearning our livelihood, it gives us an opportunity to serve and help the peopleof other religion which gives us satisfaction" another local service providersaid.

The Amarnath pilgrims also have all praise for thehospitality and 'helping nature' of the Kashmiri people.

Talking to Greater Kashmir many pilgrims said they were veryenthusiastic about the yatra and had no fear at all in their mind.

"There is no fear in our mind, the arrangements by thegovernment and the administration here are satisfying, and the locals aresupportive," said Kamal Mishra, a pilgrim from Ahmedabad.

While sharing his views on the role of Muslims duringAmarnathyatra, a pilgrim from Delhi, Mukesh Kumar, said: "It is all due to thecooperation and support of the Muslim community that this religious journey hasbeen successful." He said the Muslims have played an important role byproviding all kinds of services and other necessities to the pilgrims all alongthe route to the cave.

From the base camp Baltal, the shorter route to the shrinecave is about 14 km. It is very steep and at places quite difficult to climb.

It starts from Baltal and passes through Domial, Bararimarg,and Sangam and finally reaches the cave shrine.

The pilgrims reach the cave shrine by foot or by chopperwith majority among them preferring ponies (horses) or palanquin (a kind of abed carried by four people on four sides). In addition to it, the civil andpolice administration run largely by Muslim officers work tirelessly to ensuresuccessful and peaceful annual Amarnath pilgrimage.

The Amarnath shrine board, civil and police administrationhave made all the arrangements for the annual Yatra. Besides heightenedsecurity arrangements have been made to ensure a peaceful Yatra.

The state government makes all the required arrangementsincluding medical facilities, water, electricity, ration, etc. to ensuresuccessful pilgrimage.

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