'Faith can move mountains'- the statement is evident by the fact that Amarnath Yatris return for pilgrimage every year despite several terror threats and challenging weather conditions. Amarnath cave, which is believed to be an abode of Lord Shiva, is a Hindu shrine located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. As the cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 meters, the journey to Amarnath includes a steep trek from Pahalgam town. During summer as the snow melts in the area, devotees head towards the location to get a glance of the frozen 'Shiva Linga' formed inside the cave. Science explains, the structure is a stalagmite which is formed as the water droplets freeze while falling from the roof of the cave. The trek is a difficult and not everyone manages to reach up to the location.
The cave which is situated in the lap of the Himalayan range is considered as one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. Surrounded by snow covered mountains the cave itself remains ice-blocked for most of the year. As the ice melts during summer, the ice 'Shiva Linga' becomes visible. According to Hindu mythology, Amarnath is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his wife Parvati. Moreover, the Hindu beliefs also claim that the 'Linga' grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon but the phenomenon is not backed by any scientific evidence.
The trek to Amarnath includes risk of life. Several people attempt to scale the height every year, but only a few of them manage to make it up to the cave. There are two major risk factors that claims hundreds of lives every year- the weather conditions and the terrorist attacks. The cave is located in Kashmir, that happens to be near the border of India and Pakistan and is often eyed by the terrorist groups.
The above timeline shows how terror failed to deter the pilgrims as thousand of pilgrims continue to visit the place every year.
Another risk factor is the weather. Heavy rains, shooting stones and landslides are very common in the mountains. In fact, every year several people die falling prey to sudden environmental changes and a lot of them are stuck in the mountains given the bad weather conditions. However, the risks couldn't surpass the faith of the devotees. Hundreds of people make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave across challenging mountainous terrain every year. In fact, as per media reports, there is a consistent increase in the number of people who are willing to scale the height every year.