Amarnath Yatra: Over 2,200 pilgrims leave for the cave shrine

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Jammu: Another batch of over 2,200 Amarnath pilgrims left from here on Sunday for the Himalayan cave shrine in the Kashmir Valley.

“The fourth batch of 2,219 yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu at 4.50 a.m. today (Sunday) in an escorted convoy,” a senior police officer told IANS here.

Over 480 women and 27 children are part of the convoy.

The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath started on July 2 and will end on August 29 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.

“The yatra has been going on smoothly and the issues of security and logistics are being efficiently addressed,” said another senior officer in south Kashmir Anantnag district where the shrine is located.

The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the Moon.

amarnath caveDevotees call the stalagmite structure the ‘Holy Lingam’ and believe it symbolizes mystical powers of Lord Shiva.

The pilgrims reach the cave shrine situated 14,500 feet above the sea level through the traditional south Kashmir Pahalgam and the relatively modern north Kashmir Baltal base camp routes.

Helicopter services are available at Baltal and at Chandanwari (Pahalgam).

Besides, local Muslim potters and ponywallahs help by carrying the weak and infirm pilgrims on horseback or even on their shoulders all along the treacherous mountain trek that is 14-km long via Baltal and 46-km long via Pahalgam route.

(IANS)

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Kashmir Volunteers Feed Stray Dogs During Lockdown

The main source of food for the stray dogs are the eateries and hotels which are all shut due to lockdown

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Kashmir Volunteers have taken the responsibility of feeding stray dogs in the city. Pixabay

For the last two weeks a team of volunteers from Chatabal in downtown Srinagar have taken upon itself the responsibility of feeding stray dogs in the city.

The team, comprising students and businessmen, which has been running a medical camp in the downtown, started feeding the strays after seeing their deplorable condition. The strays’ main source of food the eateries and hotels had all shut due to lockdown.

ecuador
There are over 50,000 stray dogs in the city. Pixabay

Read More: Don’t Let Lockdown Diminish The Spirit of World Cocktail day

There are over 50,000 stray dogs in the city.

While people in Kashmir have been reaching out to the poor and the needy during the lockdown that coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, these volunteers are making a difference in their own right to strays. (IANS)

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Lord Shiva: Man, Myth or Divine? Explains Sadhguru

Sadhguru stresses upon the fact that more often Shiva is described as a non-being

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Sadhguru
Sadhguru has stressed upon this fact that if you read through the Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. Twitter

By Kashish Rai

“The word ‘Shiva’ means literally, that ‘which is not’. On another level when we say ‘Shiva’, we are referring to a certain Yogi, the Adiyogi or the first Yogi and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru.”

~ Sadhguru

“Shiva” who is known as Mahadeva is one of the chief deities of Hindus. He is considered as the supreme being within ‘Shaivism’, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. He is known as “The Destroyer” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu.

With context to the Hindu Mythology, Shiva is the supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the Universe~ But Shiva is beyond this identity. Who is Shiva? Is he a god or a construct of collective imagination? Or is there a deeper meaning to Shiva? Revealed only to those who seek? Jaggi Vasudev, an Indian yogi and author popularly known as “Sadhguru” explains it all!

Sadhguru says, “Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. That is the womb from which everything is born, and that is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva.”

Shiva
“Shiva” who is known as Mahadeva is one of the chief deities of Hindus. He is considered as the supreme being within ‘Shaivism’, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Twitter

Sadhguru also stresses upon the fact that more often Shiva is described as a non-being. He is not described as the light but as darkness. Here, Sadhguru describes that the light is not eternal in comparison to the darkness. He says, “Light is not eternal. It is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. Darkness is a much bigger possibility than light. Nothing needs to burn, it is always – it is eternal. Darkness is everywhere. It is the only thing that is all pervading.”

Sadhguru tells that in some places in the west, Shiva is considered to be a Demon!

He says that if we look at it as a concept, there isn’t a more intelligent concept on the planet about the whole process of creation and how it has happened.

Shiva: Being the Adiyogi & One and The Same!

Sadhguru further explains that “Shiva refers to both “that which is not,” and Adiyogi, because in many ways, they are synonymous. This being, who is a yogi, and that non-being, which is the basis of the existence, are the same, because to call someone a yogi means he has experienced the existence as himself.”

When we talk about Shiva as “that which is not,” and Shiva as a yogi, in a way they are synonymous, yet they are two different aspects. Because India is a dialectical culture, we shift from this to that and that to this effortlessly. One moment we talk about Shiva as the ultimate, the next moment we talk about Shiva as the man who gave us this whole process of yoga.

Adiyogi
A Still of Adiyogi Statue of Lord Shiva at Coimbatore which is 112.4 ft tall. It has been recognized as the Largest Best Sculpture by the Guinness World Records. The founder of Isha Foundation, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev designed the statue and was inaugurated by Honourable PM Sh. Narendra Modi in 2017.

Shiva is Beyond Any Perception!

Sadhguru has stressed upon the fact that Shiva is beyond the image and perception of what people see in through Indian Calender art.

He says that, “Calender Artists have made him a chubby-cheeked, blue-colored man because a calendar artist has only one face. Why would a yogi like Shiva look chubby-cheeked? If you showed him skinny it would be okay, but a chubby-cheek Shiva – how is that?”

In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. He was a being who walked this land and lived in the Himalayan region. As the very source of the yogic traditions, his contribution in the making of human consciousness is too phenomenal to be ignored.

 Devotional Manifestation: Ancient Shiva Temples

Sadhguru says that in India since the the Ancient times, temples were built mostly for Shiva. It was only in the last 1000 or so years that other temples came up.

He writes, “The word Shiva literally means ‘that which is not.’ So the temple was built for ‘that which is not.’ ‘That which is’ is physical manifestation; ‘that which is not’ is that which is beyond the physical.”

There are thousands of Shiva temples in the country, and most of them don’t have any form as such. They just have a representative form and generally it is a linga.

Dhyanlinga
A Still of Dhyanlinga, a yogic temple near Coimbatore, India. Twitter

“The Adiyogi Shiva does not belong to the past, he belongs to the future”

At many places, Sadhguru has stressed upon this fact that if you read through the Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. He is Sundaramurthy, the most beautiful. At the same time, nobody can be more horrible than him!

Shiva is a terrible combination of everything put together…

(About Sadhguru: Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author & poet. Sadhguru has been conferred the “Padma Vibhushan” by the Government of India in 2017, the highest amongst the annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.)

 

 

 

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Contemporary Bollywood Films Predicated in KASHMIR: The Subsisting Heaven on Earth

We should Indeed thank Bollywood who through its Beautiful films define the resplendence of Kashmir heaven! 

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Kashmir
For so many years, Kashmir has been a hub of shooting Bollywood Movies.

By Kashish Rai

 Kashmir which is known as the “Living Paradise on Earth”, Kashmir which has its own majestic beauty~ always purveys the panoramic and all embracing view of the beautiful nature. Nature has so lavishly endowed Kashmir with unequivocal benevolence which hardly finds a parallel in any land in this world.

For so many years, Kashmir has been a hub of shooting Bollywood Movies. Be it the couple romancing and singing in a boat amidst Dal Lake or in the resplendent views of  Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Char Chinar or Srinagar~ Kashmir has given the perfect mood to match the Aesthetics.

The times eventually changed when militancy became illustrious and the era from 2000s saw an inundation of films which were politically sensitive where Kashmir was made the intrinsic part of the scripts along with its backdrop.

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Today, I have brought a few bollywood films which have their plait confined to Kashmir and were shot amidst its scenic beauty. Hope you will enjoy!

  1. HAIDER (2014)

  • DIRECTOR: Vishal Bhardwaj

  • STARRING: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Narendra Jha, Kay Kay Menon.

Haider
Haider is a wonderful piece of art, it tells the pain of poetic narrations and complex sentiments along with deep fervours. Pinterest

 Haider is a fervent adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and so far, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Magnum Opus! Bhardwaj had engrossingly adapted “Hamlet” to the rise of Kashmir Conflict in the formerly peaceful South-Western part of Jammu and Kashmir in the Era of 90s. The story is about grieving son’s search for his missing and adoring father. All the actors in the film have played their roles with par excellence. According to me, Haider is a wonderful piece of art, it tells the pain of poetic narrations and complex sentiments along with deep fervours.

  1. FITOOR (2016)

  • DIRECTOR: Abhishek Kapoor

  • STARRING: Tabu, Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapoor

Fitoor
Fitoor is a very passionate film and the amazing visuals of Kashmir add different dimensions to the myriad aspects of this movie. Pinterest

Fitoor is based on a popular novel by Charles Dickens titled “The Great Expectation”. It is a soft and emotional love story. Its songs blend with the natural music of the Himalayan Mountains. The characters in the film possess a casual tenderness. It is a very passionate film and the amazing visuals of Kashmir add different dimensions to the myriad aspects of this movie. Surely watch it if you are a lover of romantic celluloids.

  1. LAILA MAJNU (2018)

  • DIRECTOR: Sajid Ali

  • STARRING: Avinash Tiwary, Tripti Dimri

Laila Majnu
Laila Majnu is a moving celluloid that is a retelling of an eternal Love Saga whose characters live in contemporary times, but the emotions are still the same. Pinterest

There are love stories that never die, and then there is Laila Majnu. It is a folklore about two passionate lovers who are never destined to meet. This film for me is a moving celluloid that is a retelling of an eternal Love Saga whose characters live in contemporary times, but the emotions are still the same. The performances by the two actors are exceptional that will make you feel the pain, longing, heartbreak and separation. The music in this film is a masterpiece, which suits the mood of every scene of the film. You will surely get allured by the bewitching scenic view of Kashmir as a whole! This film is surely a must watch.

  1. NOTEBOOK (2019)

  • DIRECTOR: Nitin Kakkar

  • STARRING: Zaheer Iqbal, Pranutan Bahl

Notebook
Notebook is a simple and mesmerizing story with brilliant cinematography. Pinterest

Notebook is one of the films which will take you along with them and you eventually feel teleported to heavenly Kashmir as backdrop. It is an unconventional love story where major issues of Jammu and Kashmir are subtly touched upon. It is so beautiful to see how simply a “Notebook” becomes the soul of the film, which also shows that children understand the language of love. It is a simple and mesmerizing story with brilliant cinematography. If you look for some old-world romance in today’s time~ then this film is surely made for you!

  1. SHIKARA (2020)

  • DIRECTOR: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

  • STARRING: Aadil Khan, Sadia

Shikara
The slide of the film begins with late 80s and it rolls down to 2018 to its culmination with lead characters ageing, along with the dismay and hopelessness over their original homeland. Pinterest

Shikara is a masterpiece which reflects the agony faced by Kashmiri Pandits because of the political turmoil in Kashmir in the 80s. It is based on real life incidents which will make you feel a lot through its words than the action. Premirely in every way, Shikara displays romance between two characters Shiv (Aadil Khan) and Shanti (Sadia) who, along with Immense grief of lost home share bliss of togetherness and hope. The slide of the film begins with late 80s and it rolls down to 2018 to its culmination with lead characters ageing, along with the dismay and hopelessness over their original homeland. Chopra has skillfully tied all of it with his passionate skills of a lucrative filmmaker. This film is a mastercraft! It is beautifully shot in Kashmir Paradise! You can surely feel the love and the pain as it comes. Altogether, This film is an alluring piece and again a must watch!

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The magnificent Beauty of Kashmir and the tales associated with it is so amazing that makes everyone fall in love with it!

 We should Indeed thank Bollywood who through its Beautiful films define the resplendence of Kashmir heaven!