Bandipora: On Thursday, the Chota Amarnath Yatra, a one-day rite, was resumed there after a lengthy break.
As worshippers arrived to the sacred cave shrine in the Sampthan woods of Arin, it was festooned with flowers and flags, and the air was filled with chanting and songs. A middle-aged pilgrim commented, “I can’t put into words my sentiments after returning here after many years. I’ve been to the cave shrine previously as well.
This year, the authorities had permitted a small group of roughly 70 pilgrims while preparations for a month were being prepared. After almost ten years, the Yatra has finally started off again in full force. Even though a group set off in 2017, it was not as substantial as it is now, according to Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, who started off the Yatra on Thursday morning from Sharda Mata temple in Kaloosa village of the district shortly after special prayers along with SSP and other high authorities.
Due to infrastructure limitations and unpredictability of the circumstances, the Yatra, which had been a symbolic rite for years in the past, had lost its fervour. The Yatris travelled five kilometres to the hamlet of Dardpora in Arin on Thursday, where they were welcomed with open arms by the neighborhood’s Muslim population.
Drums were pounded by villagers and PRIs, and Yatris were decorated. Along the way, there were many residents, riders, and volunteers. The Muslims in the area used to welcome us at their houses and there used to be Langers along the route. As Ramesh Razdan, the religious leader of SMT, arrived to the cave shrine, he said how wonderful and rewarding it is that the same is being reborn.
Along the way, many departments and the army had also set up kiosks where they were handing people breakfast, water, and tea. Lakshmi Koul, an old resident, stated, “The sentiments are comparable to when I was a youngster and would go to the sacred cave to pay reverence.
We prayed for our brothers, the nation, and Kashmir in particular today, Koul remarked. “We are appreciative to the leadership and the neighbourhood Muslims who have stood shoulder to side with us. The emotions are beyond words,” she said.
To pay their respects, the followers entered the little cave in small groups, and by dusk, they had completed the whole day’s ceremony.
According to Arin’s DDC Ghulam Mohuidin Rather, “We think a message has gone out that our brotherhood is as strong as ever and there is peace.”
“We expect this Yatra to continue annually,” he added, adding, “We will always be welcoming and ready for any assistance.” He said that the Pandit community is held in high regard and that people are “happy that the Yatris have arrived again.”