Amarnath temple is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India and also incredibly picturesque. The beauty is breathtaking but the five days journey of approximately 40 miles back and forth is extremely strenuous.  Well, there are countless temples in India with millions of visitors everyday — what’s so special about Amarnath?

The cave is situated at an height of 3888 m. (13,000 ft) in northern India and is known to be around for the last 5,000 years. Every year the ice naturally forms a cylindrical structure that resembles the imgae of Lord Shiva. It waxes during May to August and gradually wanes after the two-month period. This supposed to be the “miracle of the nature” is basically a stalagmite.

The journey to Amarnath takes almost 5 days back and forth from the base camp and it is reported almost 70,000 people from different parts of India visit every year — some enjoy the grandeur of nature, some seek spiritual/religious fulfillment.

The trekking route is accessible for the mass only for two months (July and August) in a year, so is the private chopper/flight service.

I am neither overwhelmed nor bothered by the mythological or spiritual legendary of Amarnath but the wonder of the natural stalagmite formation on a regular basis – year after years – really intrigues me, let alone the serenity of it.

This year, the formation melted before the journey even started. Some argues the reason is influx of visitors, some blame the “global warming.”

I believe in the latter.

This might be a spiritual journey or purely a tourist attraction but it is something unique which, unfortunately, is on the verge of destruction.

The 12 ft. tall natural ice structure shrinking to a mere 4 ft is a poor victim of global warming – some might think otherwise though.

The dispute whether the melting/shrinking caused by “global warming” or because of the increasing number of visitors is still thriving, but all I know that no proper awareness campaign is followed.

The pilgrims are saddened, frustrated, outraged and what not because of the shrinkage of this holy image but are they aware of the real cause?

In this over populated and overtly uneducated country it is very easy to exploit people’s faith and start business on it.

Because, people are fearful of anything unknown.

Moreover, if we do not become aware today, when we will be?

Posted by Kathakali Chatterjee

Professionally, I have an interesting concoction of experience -- from entertainment industry to retailing to executive education -- the journey is still on. When I don't work, I love to travel, read, listen to music and watch movies.

6 Comments

  1. Amarnath looks like a beautiful place to visit, Katha! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  2. I like this article alot. It’s a shame we aren’t more aware of places like this. They are so beautiful and need to be noticed more. Places like this make me want to take up backpacking and just traveling around to see what there is to see.

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  3. A wonderful story, Katha. I would like to visit someday. I hope it sticks around!

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  4. […] me, you probably started scratching your head — when on earth “Tintin” was in India? He wasn’t. The closest Tintin came to India was Tibet but I was still able to find […]

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  5. Hi Janna,

    Of course! If you plan a trip to India, it should be “Ladakh”!!😀

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