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One word to describe the feeling at Sheshnag, MESMERIZING.
Nagakoti to Sheshnag
After Nagakoti comes Sheshnag lake and Mountains where the beautiful river East Lidder originates. From Nagkoti, Sheshnag yatra camp is at 2 kms and in between these 2 kms you can enjoy the breathtaking views of this charming lake.The first glimpse of the lake itself demonstrates how magical the view is going to be when we see the whole lake along with chain of mountains. I just want to say that the color of the lake itself is so spectacular ,flashy and dazzling which one cannot describe. From the moment I saw the I was magnetized and allured by its beauty. The first scene of the lake just a small bight light blue colored water appearing between two small hills and a small stream flowing through the gap between those two hills. Yes the river is East Lidder which we were following from Anantnag. At last I am able to find its source. This scene itself is one of the most beautiful scenes in whole valley surrounded with mountains all around , light blue colored waters of Sheshnag lake, origination of Lidder and well supported by beautiful clouds. A person, after seeing this view, will just ask for one house here so that he can continuously watch the miracle and relieve all his stress conglomerated in his day to day life.
As we moved further we got the spectacular vision of whole lake. The picture of whole lake while travelling is very difficult to get as the lake is too wide. Only in the start when we reach Sheshnag territory we can get the whole picture of the wide lake as it is narrow from that vision . As soon as you come in between Nagakoti and Sheshnag base camp around a kilometer the lake’s view becomes wide and elongated which is very difficult to capture in a camera from that height and way. Only by panoramic view option in the camera you can take the complete picture of the elongated lake.
SHESHNAG LAKE ( 11730 feet)
Once again I will say that this is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen , No Doubt about it. I will try to describe some part of its beauty. The color of water itself is the major attraction and one would be completely lured and magnetized by the vision. From my point of view the main shade of the lake is light blue or light green in color, I can’t say it on the first chance. But I will say it is combination of both or say in the middle of both with infinite pleasantness and calmness. Eyes will be just fixed on the entire water body alluring it. There are many shades on this color. Somewhere it gets lighter, somewhere darker , somehwere the water and sand is white and somewhere black on the periphery. I saw even tints of red colored soil and water. On complete observation one can find atleast 20 different shades of water in this gorgeous lake. Coming to surrounding mountains, on one side of the path of Amarnath yatra we find rocky, brown and muddy mountains. Alongside of the Sheshnag lake we find green mountains with some greenery and pine trees on them. On the opposite side we find grey colored mountains and in between those grey colored mountains you find mindboggling white mountains covered with snow and glaciers. There are numerous glaciers which feed Sheshnag lake which is drained out out by East Lidder river. The mountains are kissed by white light and fluffy clouds which adds to the ultimate beauty and exquisiteness of the panorama.The place is so beautiful that the pictures here are only a mere percentage of what you see with naked eye and feel with your other senses and soul. ASTONISHING!
Sheshnag is also an oligotrophic lake that means it has low primary productivity, the result of low nutrient content.These lakes have low algal production, and consequently, often have very clear waters, with high drinking water quality. The bottom waters of such lakes typically have ample oxygen,thus, such lakes often support many fish species, like trout, which require cold, well-oygenated waters.
Many people say that they seen Sheshnag serpent in this beautiful valley. Once while watching at the lake closely I saw something shady moving on the lake. I was quite surprised whether what I saw was really Sheshnag swimming inside. But to my surprise quickly I realized that it was not what I thought but merely a shadow of a small moving cloud which gradually vanished. HAA! HAA!
Amarnath Legend :- Lord Shiva leaves all the serpents at Nagakoti and finally he leaves Sheshnag the one around his neck here at this lake. Hence the lake is named after that serpent. The 7 mountains here resembles and called 7 hoods of the Sheshnag serpent.
Many pilgrims stay here overnight mostly pilgrims who travel by foot. Lot of arrangements are there in Sheshnag like base camps, tents, medicinal faclities , small hospitals , doctors , medicines, army camp for safety, oxygen cylinders , bhandaras and langars etc. People enjoy all these faclities in Sheshnag Camp and have a bath in Sheshnag lake in the morning and leave for darshan of Holy cave.
Sheshnag lake most of the times apart from three to four months is frozen. June to September is best part to visit this lake. Many tourists come in this period to visit this lake and see its beauty apart from the yatra days. Even some professionals and crazy travellors come even after that to see the frozen lake covered with snow. The layer of ice on the lake has broken many times which has led to deaths of tourists and trekkers due to hypothermia here.
Finally after superb view of around half an hour at around 12.30 pm , we moved forward from Sheshnag lake to base camp which was now not that much dense because of Yatra end. Very less number of tents were seen here. But still the movement of people here was good, mostly returning from the yatra.
Tiring and Tedious Situations arrives
Now we headed towards most tedious and tiring part of this yatra. The next destination was Mahagunas top or Ganesh top which is the highest point in this yatra with a small military base at Babaltop in between. The pathway from Sheshnag to Mahagunas top is heavily covered with rocks and sharp stones. Actually this path is mostly covered with snow, but now when we were going most of the snow was melted. Still we could find lot of snow till Mahagunas Top and Poshpatri. Also the snow was fully covered with brown and black mud due to horses and pilgrims. Lot of times our horses were actually walking on the snow which we felt that it was mud. Walking on the snow is also a very dangerous and tricky situation. The horse as well as humans both slip here. One should really take care while walking on snow.
Sheshnag to Mahagunas Top
From here around one , one and half kilometer we moved straight without any climb or descend , with snowy surfaces and rivers in between. Bit of the journey now had become boring with less views or I cannot see much scenic views comparing previous ones as the area was like a ground type . Only one scene can be seen and not much. Also we were now more than 4 hours on horses so our legs were now feeling tired and aching with same posture for that many hours. The sun was right on our head. And supercool wind was blowing. Now this combination is too sarcastic to handle . Sun on top of the head of an elevated place gives biting heat and cold wind passing from snowy mountains makes the body cool. The whole area was brown and rocky, so the horse was slipping again and again. So our muscles were stretching was more and more. So combining all these factors the feeling was impossible to tolerate. And in addition to that Aarya’s balance again started to tilt on one side which was adding to my frustration.And finally we had only some fruits on the this tiresome way due to which one would feel more hungry.This was the toughest yatra I ever had.
In between the route from Sheshnag to Mahagunas Top for a small period of time if we are fortunate enough we can have vision of mountains of trinity called Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh because here mostly they are hidden with clouds.
Very tricky and toughest path to climb in the yatra
In between Sheshnag and Babaltop we can find lot of streams due to melting of snow. This whole area was covered with snow in the yatra before 10 days and I could not believe it , because in just a span of 10- 15 days I am feeling so much heat here mostly the land here is rocky apart form some patches of ice in between. Now this yatra was becoming heavier and heavier as we started to climb to Babaltop. Path from here was horrifying and we found stones and boulders very huge in size and numbers. In fact I can say that this not a path also. We were just climbing the rocks. And that too one side there was a mountain and on the other side a deep valley. I thought pilgrims are having this yatra for atleast 150 years and that too from this area then at least a proper way could have been made. But it was in my destiny to go in this way to the almighty. Lets see what happens in future.
As soon as the most dangerous climb started on the rocks Aarya started feeling sleepy. There was no choice but to make her sleep on the horse once again. I wonder how could children manage sleep in such conditions and arrangements also. Looking from back I was very terrified. But we continued the journey . Now again I asked the horseman whether we could reach the cave today , he said we could reach Panchtarni. And from Panchtarni army man would not allow us to go ahead as the road is very dangerous . But if we reach Panchtarni 3.30 – 4.00 pm then there is a chance that we could cover the last 6 km in the daylight. My intention was to visit the cave on Shravan Somawar as this was very auspicious , but now lets see what Lord wishes. So I told him to hurry. But because of Aarya’s again and again tilting on one side due to imbalance and to make her sleeping arrangements we were losing lot of time again and again. Also now again after around 3 to 4 km of rolling on the land we were now climbing so again this took longer than before.
We are heading towards the highest point of the yatra called Mahagunas Top at 14500 feet which is also exactly half way to last destination (16 kms)as far as distance is concerned.
BABALTOP ( 13800 feet)
Then around one hour from Sheshnag at 13.40 hours we reached Babaltop where we were completely exhausted . We wanted to get fresh and wait for some time so that blood through the veins in our legs which were completely blocked. At Babaltop we started feeling terrible cold as the temperature nearly drop from 25 to 10 degree C. Now we were just one kilometer away from highest point Mahgunas top which is also the half way. Here BSF people gave us warm water to drink which made us fresh and energetic to proceed further . Without wasting much time we headed towards Mahagunas top. Once again from Babaltop one side views are spectacular with ice capped peaks all over.
Babaltop to Mahagunas Top
After Babaltop its just a kilometer to Mahagunas top but here the path is very rocky with protruding stones with lot of height to be covered in small distance. So the speed of horses walking was very slow and limited. Inch by Inch horse was putting his feet here and slipping again. In between Mahagunas top and Babaltop I found lot of streams which we crossed. Mind you this place which is full of stones now was full of snow 10 days back, so anybody from readers who goes there or reads any other article or post and finds snow instead of rocks , don’t be surprised.
MAHAGUNAS TOP or GANESH TOP ( 14500 feet)
At around 14.00 hours we reached Mahagunas Top. As the name suggests Mahagunas Top it seems that it would be the highest part of some mountain or area. But actually it is a pass between 2 large peaks in between the Yatra at this point. As soon as we were heading towards it the climate conditions became very sarcastic and biting. Heavy cold winds were blowing and temperature went from 15 to 10 degree C. Until here I was not wearing anything but here I had to wear the jacket which I had brought to prevent myself from cold. My hands started to become numb and it was really very tough.
At Mahagunas or Ganesh Top we got down from the horses and rested for while. We have exactly reached half way here. Most of the climbing part is over apart from a patch of 3 kms from Panchtarni to Sangam.
Amarnath Legend :- It is here where Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati left their son Lord Ganesha and went to cave for revealing the secrets of immortality.
The temperature here is minimum in whole yatra. There are military camps, langars and medical centres in Mahgunas top. There are also very good scenes of 4 to 5 huge peaks which surrounds this pass.
Have you seen a movie by Farhan Akhtar , staring Hritik Roshan and Preity Zinta called ” LAQSHYA” ? If you have seen then can you remember anything by seeing the mountain peak below ? No then I have zoomed the next picture for you.
This is the type of the peak which Hritik Roshan and his team members climbs in the climax of the film to get rid of Pakistan army situated above. Straight like a wall. My picture is hazy here but there is Indian flag waving above the peak if you can see.
For now I am stopping here. In the next part I will come up with Poshpatri and Panchtarni where I had a night halt and some live action stunts seen by our BSF Soldiers . The night halt at Panchtarni was one of the most horrible nights I have ever passed in my life coming up in next post. Till then
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