Source: The Hindustan Times
AMARNATH, INDIA, July 25, 2001: The collection boxes at Amarnath double up as mail boxes where pilgrims drop in their requests to Lord Siva. From the troubled housewife to the aspiring executive, these boxes get letters from everybody. And playing mailmen are the staff of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank who not only collect the money but also the letters from the boxes. They don't mind playing secretaries to God either. "If the letters have a return address, we write back on behalf of Bhole Nath (Lord Siva) and advise people," said Satish Raina, a bank employee. A commando who had lost his fingers and vision during a training course made a pilgrimage here in the hope that Bhole Nath would restore his vision. "I have to do well in my personal and professional life," he wrote to Lord Siva. "I know God makes the impossible possible." If the commando had come with an appeal, sisters Mohini and Madhuri in their early 30s were here on a thanksgiving mission. Dressed in new clothes bought for the darbar, their heads covered with red chunnis, they were here because their prayers had been answered. "My brother was involved in a dowry case for the past 20 years. With Bhole Nath's help, the case was finally disposed," said Mohini. She had an offering to make: a brass bell to offer at the altar. It hasn't been a safe yatra this year either. But the militant attacks and the unfriendly terrain has only made the pilgrims tougher. Newlyweds Ekta and Deepak Jindal from Kotkapura chose the pilgrimage for a honeymoon. Deepak is a die-hard devotee of Lord Siva. He has been here before and knows he would be safe.