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2 American devotees pay obeisance at Amarnath cave shrine

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Srinagar: Two Americans from California have perhaps become the first foreign pilgrims to undertake the Amarnath Yatra to the holy cave shrine of Lord Shiva in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

In a video released by the Department of Information and Public Relations of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the two men, who have not been named, talk about their journey.

“We stay at a temple ashram in California. For years, we have dreamt of coming here for this Yatra. We have watched ‘aarti’ videos on YouTube every day for the last few years. It is hard, impossible to describe how we feel. We just have incredible gratitude and are very happy,” one of them said.

Clad in saffron robes and sporting long beaded hair, the two men said they are devotees of Swami Vivekananda.

“We are devotees of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda came to Amarnath and had a very important experience. He had a vision of Lord Shiva and for 40 years now, I have been thinking that I know this story.

“This is why we wanted to come here. It seemed like an impossible dream. Then, all of a sudden, by Bholenath’s grace, everything came together and here we are after having his darshan,” the other man said.

The duo said they cannot explain in words how they feel. “The emotion and feelings are too much,” one of them said.

“We are seeped in gratitude and happiness to be able to have this darshan, to come for this pilgrimage,” he added.

The two Americans were all praise for the arrangements made by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board for the devotees visiting the holy cave, located at a height of 3,888 metres.

“The organisation is flawless. How the shrine board has arranged everything despite so many pilgrims is very impressive,” one of them said.

They said they found a particular kind of peace prevailing in these mountains.

“We hope that this kind of peace prevails everywhere. That is our prayer,” one of them said.

 

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