The annual Amarnath Yatra is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage worth undertaking, at least once in a lifetime for all devout followers, apart from Kailash Mansarovar, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Lakhs of devotees participate in this grand pilgrimage that is held every year in the month of June, to the Holy Cave in Amarnath, which is in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, INDIA. The chants of Har Har Mahadev and Bol Bam fills the air of Kashmir valley, as all ardent Shiv bhakts or followers come from all over the country to participate in this yatra. It eventually ends at the Holy Cave, that houses the naturally formed ice Shiva Lingam, which is truly magical and divine to view. Getting a glimpse of this imposing naturally formed structure is considered really auspicious for all Hindus, that possess immense love for Lord Shiva – The Destroyer. This Yatra commences from Jammu and goes all the way to Amarnath, via Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Baltal and finally, up to the cave. The yatris or pilgrims are all in their winter clothing, the men folk in trousers and jeans with thick jackets to beat the cold, and the women folk in traditional salwar kameez or saris. The pilgrims either walk all the way to the holy cave, or ride on the back of ponies/mules, and some elderly even in wooden carts, as carried by local porters, from the Gujjar and Bakarwal community.
The entire terrain through which the yatra passes, is really tough, as one has to face the harsh weather which is really cold and sometimes raining. The route is spectacular in terms of scenery and picturesque beauty, as you witness some incredibly beautiful snow-clad mountain peaks, high passes and valleys that are breathtaking to view. The coniferous trees and the rich flora-fauna of the Kashmir valley is something worth viewing, and the pilgrims soak into the natural ambiance, along with devotional enthusiasm that drives them to the holy cave in Amarnath. Men, women and children are all enthralled to be a part of this annual yatra or pilgrimage which is something to cherish for the entire life. The men can be seen wrapped in thick jackets, caps and blankets to beat the extreme cold weather, whereas the women are in traditional sarees and salwar kameez along with jackets and shawls that help keep them warm throughout the entire trek on foot and on pony back. They also carry a long stick for support and most of them are in sports shoes and sneakers. The ultimate goal is to reach the cave where the naturally formed Shiva Lingam is worth a spectacle. It is a view that is to be cherished for life.