Srinagar, July 11: In a remarkable display of devotion, Saina Nehwal, the celebrated badminton player and India's first-ever Olympic medalist in the sport, embarked on a sacred expedition to the revered Amarnath Shrine on Wednesday. Accompanied by her family, Nehwal paid a visit to the holy cave, capturing the essence of her journey in pictures shared on social media, including heartwarming encounters with soldiers along the route.
Alongside Nehwal, two religious tourists from the United States embarked on their own spiritual pilgrimage to the Amarnath Shrine. Expressing their appreciation for the arrangements made by the Shrine Board to facilitate the pilgrimage, the American tourists praised the board's efforts in ensuring a seamless experience for the devotees visiting the holy shrine.
"We have harbored dreams of undertaking this Yatra for many years. We reside at a temple in Ashran, California, in America, and the desire to visit this sacred place has been ingrained in us for a long time," shared the foreign religious tourists. They further revealed that they had immersed themselves in YouTube videos and reels dedicated to Amarnath Yatra for nearly three years, intensifying their anticipation for the pilgrimage.
When questioned about their connection to Amarnath, one of the American tourists explained, "We are devout followers of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda. It was through their experiences, especially Swami Vivekananda's visit to Amarnath and his profound encounter with Lord Shiva, that we became acquainted with the significance of this place. For 40 years, I have been contemplating this story and dreaming of embarking on the Amarnath Yatra."
Expressing their elation at finally realizing their dream, the religious tourists said, "For years, we wondered if we could ever come to Amarnath. It seemed like an impossible dream, but by Bholenath's grace, everything fell into place. Words fail to describe the overwhelming emotions we are experiencing. Gratitude and happiness permeate every fiber of our being as we bask in the starry glow of this pilgrimage."
The religious tourists were effusive in their praise for the flawless arrangements made by the Shrine Board and the government. "The arrangements have been impeccable. The shrine board has meticulously organized every aspect, from the puja rituals to managing the influx of pilgrims. It is truly impressive to witness such seamless coordination. We are immensely appreciative," they expressed.
In their message to the world, one of the American nationals reflected, "There is a certain kind of peace that permeates these hills, these mountains, and of course, the holy cave. Our prayer is that this profound tranquility can extend to every corner of the world."
Pertinently, a couple of days ago, 33 yatries from Nepal had also come to pay darshan at Shri Amarnathji Cave. On their way, they were facilitated and warmly welcomed by administration.
Meanwhile, as many as 9155 Amarnath devotees paid obeisance at the Holy Cave on Wednesday taking total to 1,46,508 yatries who performed darshan since July 01.
Among the yatries who visited Shri Amarnathji Cave today were 6995 males, 1918 females, 122 children and120 sadhus.