Amarnath Yatra Sustains Livelihoods: Baltal Pony Walas Find Relief in Annual Pilgrimage Service

Pony walas in Baltal area said they work from Baltal. For one and-a-half months, we are engaged in the Amarnath yatra taking yatris up on the holy trek climb up to Panjtarni near Amarnath cave from where yatris do the final leg of the journey on foot. Then they bring the yatris who have had Amarnathji darshan back from Panjtarni to the downhill trek up to the Baltal base camp. This one and-a-half month period of work gives them livelihood resource to sustain for the whole year. That is why they are happy to serve in the Amarnath yatra and wait for the yatra to begin each year. In this village first our grandfathers came, then our fathers stayed and now we are staying, said a pony wala. So this has been our place for thousands of years. Our children, families are with us and also our animal livestock. We will go back in September, one month after the yatra ends in August end. This accommodation in Baltal is made of stones, said a young member of the family of the pony wala. It is a one room in which we all stay. Our big brother who used to stay with us has gone down to study, informed the young one reciting an English poem. The pony walas said that they are always happy with the announcement of the yatra each year. The poor will be saved, he will do business so their houses will run. We are also happy with the 2023 yatra. Public coming for the yatra in good numbers means we will do good work here.

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