Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure called the ‘Lingam’ symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva
The south Kashmir Pahalgam route passes through Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Pissu Top and Panchtarni
Hindu scriptures mention, this route that Lord Shiva used to reach the cave is where he told goddess Parvati the study of immortality and eternal life
Jammu: Over 71,000 pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra so far as another batch of 1,612 pilgrims left Jammu on Thursday, July 7.
An official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the annual pilgrimage said, ” A total of 1,612 pilgrims comprising 1,266 males and 346 females left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas today (Thursday) in 35 buses and 22 light motor vehicles in a convoy escorted by security forces for the Valley.”
“Since the Yatra started on July 2, two pilgrims have so far died of natural causes.”
An ice stalagmite structure inside the cave situated at 3,888 feet above the sea level wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon.
Due to heightened militant activities in the Valley this year, extra security measures have been taken to provide protection to the pilgrims.
A three-tier security cover manned by the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force and state police are in place to secure the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which is the only surface link used by the pilgrims.
The 48-day long Yatra will conclude on August 17 coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals. (IANS)
With over two lakh pilgrims performing the Amarnath Yatra in the past 16 days, officials said it was the highest number to visit the Himalayan cave shrine during the first forthright in the last four years.
On Wednesday, another batch of 4,584 devotees left Jammu for the valley. Officials said since July 1 when the pilgrimage started, a total of 2,05,083 pilgrims have paid obeisance to the ice stalagmite structure said to have the mythical powers of Lord Shiva.
“This is the highest number of pilgrims to visit the Cave shrine during the first forthright in the last four years,” an Amarnath Yatra official said. On Wednesday, 1,972 yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas for Baltal while 2,612 for Pahalgam base camp.
So far, 16 pilgrims have died during the Yatra due to natural causes, according to the officials of the SASB. Situated 3,888 metres above the sea-level in Kashmir Himalayas, the ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. This yatra will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival. (IANS)
In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated their first successful harvest by firing guns and cannons in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The noise alarmed ancestors of the contemporary Wampanoag Nation who went to investigate.
That is how native people came to be present at the first Thanksgiving, says Ramona Peters, historic preservation officer of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which suggests that paintings depicting Native Americans sitting down for a bountiful and harmonious meal with colonial families is basically a lie.
“The Wampanoag people, men, were not really sure what they were being told was actually true, so they stayed around for a few days. They camped outside,” says Peters. “So there was a lot of tension as well, all of these men, warriors, were next door in the woods at night in the dark close by.”
While the Wampanoag might have shared food with the Pilgrims during this strained fact-finding mission, they also hunted for food.
What was actually eaten at that first Thanksgiving is far different from the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing that grace many holiday tables today, according to experts at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
“We … know turkey was plentiful in Plymouth Colony, but we don’t know for certain that it was served at the meal,” Plimoth Plantation’s Kate Sheehan told VOA via email. “The likelihood is very strong, though. Mussels, lobster and eel were available as well, and enjoyed by both the English and Wampanoag.”
Plimoth Plantation attempts to replicate the original Plymouth Colony settlement established by the English colonists in the 17th century, and makes educated guesses about what else might have been on the first Thanksgiving table.
“English gardens probably produced cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, colewort (collards), parsnips, turnips, beets, onions, radishes, lettuce and spinach, as well as sage, thyme, parsley, marjoram, fennel, anise and dill,” Sheehan says. “Wampanoag and English women also cultivated beans and squashes, including pumpkins.”
Other foods that would have been available at that time of year include Jerusalem artichokes, wild onions, garlic, watercress, cranberries, Concord grapes and native nuts, including walnuts and chestnuts.
“Native people also dried out-of-season fruits such as blueberries and currants, and added them to dishes throughout the year,” Sheehan says.
Although Americans now celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, historians can’t pinpoint the exact date of the very first Thanksgiving.
“We know it took place over three days sometime between mid-September and early November in 1621, and was considered a harvest celebration following a successful planting of multicolored flint corn, or maize,” says Sheehan.
It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that Thanksgiving became a national holiday. President Abraham Lincoln furthered an idealistic Thanksgiving narrative for strategic reasons.
A woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of an influential women’s magazine, had a hand in convincing President Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving holiday would help unite the war-torn country.
“It was a socio-political move to try to reunite the North and the South after the Civil War to have this national holiday,”says Peters, of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. “It was their brainchild to have this national holiday called Thanksgiving, and its popularity grew through time, but it was actually a pretty smart move to establish something to unite families. During the Civil War, a lot of families actually split down the middle, brothers against brothers.”
Today, Native Americans commemorate Thanksgiving in different ways. Some consider it a day of mourning given the rapid colonization and displacement of their people. Others gather with their families, but the Pilgrims aren’t on their minds.
Peters says native people celebrate a number of thanksgivings throughout the year, at times such as when certain crops come in or a particular fish returns to spawn. Giving thanks is a big part of the Wampanoag members’ spiritual life, she adds.
The tribe, also known as the “People of the First Light,” will have a number of reasons to give thanks this year.
“On a tribal level, we have a chief who’s 98 years old and we’ll give thanks for him still being with us and willing to lead us as a traditional leader,” Peters says. “We will be thankful for the land that is in our care, for the newborn babies into our tribe. We live by the ocean, so we’re First Light people so we give thanks to the bay.” (VOA)
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said the trend of more youths joining army will achieve nothing except increased footprints of the security forces in the state.
Addressing a convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) here, Mehbooba reacted to reports of more young people joining militant ranks.
“The increase in the number of youths picking up the gun will increase the presence of Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the police.
“More the situation improves, the more we can ask the Army, the CRPF and the police to reduce their footprints (in Kashmir)”, the Chief Minister said.
Condemning the recent grenade attacks by militants in the Valley, she said: “Despite ceasefire, there are grenade attacks. They do not see that civilians are getting killed, they do not see that Army or CRPF jawans have come from far flung areas for their bread and butter. What will this achieve?
“There have been thousands of grenade attacks till now, thousands have picked up guns and become militants, but what has been achieved?” she asked.
She said through peaceful means the People’s Democratic Party had been able to persuade the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkote roads.
“If the situation improves, I promise you that we will open more such routes.”
Mehbooba made a fervent appeal to Kashmiri separatists to come forward for talks and save the state from further bloodshed and reminded them that the announcement of ceasefire by the Indian government was a step that cannot be expected always.
She said the problem can only be resolved thorough dialogue.
“This time there is an offer of dialogue from the Centre. I request all stakeholders to come forward to save Kashmir.”
Mehbooba said it was for the separatists to decide whether the youths of Kashmir should come out of the culture of stones and guns.
She also appealed to New Delhi and Islamabad to start the dialogue process in order to improve the situation since Jammu and Kashmir bears the brunt of strained relations between the two countries. (IANS)