Amarnath Yatra :: Pishutop, Zajipal & Nagakoti

The Plateau of Pishutop

The Plateau of Pishutop

Pishutop to Zajipal – Distance 5 Kms

After carrying to a distance of 3kms from Chandanwari and to an altitude of 11500 ft, we were taken down from the horseback at Pishutop. The toughest climb was now over. The faith in us became stronger and the path did not look scary. The devotees might have pleased Lord Shiva to shower his blessings with a bright and clear day. Pishu Top (or Pishu Ghati) is believed to be the site where the Rakshasas (demons) were crushed by the gods. In Hindu mythological stories, Rakshasas were used to appear every now and then, at each and every place, to through challenges to the Devas (Gods), but to get defeated by the Gods, at every time in the end. I was wondering to know of such a fight hereto. However, it reminds the victory of righteousness over evil.

“Jai Bhole Ki! Chai Pi-Lo Bhole! Nasta Le-Lo Bhole!” were the calls from the Bhandaras (Langars). These Bhandaras provide tea, snacks, breakfast and hot vegetarian foods to the pilgrims, free. They camp at all major places on the way to the Holy Cave to serve hot foods to the pilgrims. A holly attempt, I must say, may be the path, to their belief, to receive grace and blessings of Lord Shiva. The holy songs of Lord Shiva in the tunes of most modern bollywood songs were playing in these Bhandaras and were lifting up the spirits of pilgrims.

Pilgrims, who climbed up on foot the first steep mountain ‘Pishu Top’, were standing exhausted there. But they had an aura of achievement too, the aura of victory over the first hurdle, ‘Pishu Top’ and for some of them it was no less than the climbing and conquering of Mount Everest. They were proud pilgrims, posing for snaps before and on the stone painted with welcoming message “Swagatam Pishutop”. They deserved that too, but for us who came here on horseback, it was not a party time yet!

We set off again and it was now an easy road along the East Liddar River. Soon we left behind the beautiful Pishutop, I looked back, may be for a last sight in my life. I was enjoying every bit of this route and realized beginning of the most beautiful journey of my life.

The road ahead along the East Liddar River

The road ahead along the East Liddar River

Inscription on the way to Zajipal

Inscription on the way to Zajipal

As we were moving ahead, I saw posts of Indian Army at almost every kilometre or two, guarding the pilgrims against all probable odds, clearing all obstructions and ensuring the Yatra to proceed peacefully.

A Jawan carrying stone for his Post

A Jawan carrying stone for his Post

Indian Army Post on the way to Zajipal

Indian Army Post on the way to Zajipal

I was experiencing the King’s ride and by now getting a bit more used to horse riding, correct would be to say sitting on the horseback, and the journey became encouraging. I thought, if I had the opportunity to go back into past, I would have raced the horses up and down all the way like a King! But alas! I was only being carried on its back. Before I was overpowered by such intermingled thoughts, the enchanting beauty of the mountainous terrain was unfolding before my eyes at every turn and it took only few minutes’ horse riding to reach Zajipal (Zajibal).

Snowy Mountain Enroute

Snowy Mountain Enroute

The Peak just before Zajipal

The Peak just before Zajipal

Tricolour Flag at Zajipal Army Post

Tricolour Flag at Zajipal Army Post

Zajipal (Zajibal) to Nagakoti –Distance 2 Kms

Once more we were taken down from the horseback. From Zajipal, pilgrims were required to go on foot to reach Nagakoti and the horses had a different route through which they went with their masters. “Jai Bhole”, a Sadhu attracted my attention, I too said “Jai Bhole ki”. He was hopping with a song on Lord Shiva. It was playing in a Bhandara nearby and he gripped into it. He knew no schedule, no urgency, but only paying obeisance to the Lord Shiva by taking his name for countless time, singing holy songs and dancing with it, might be all the way to the Holy Cave. But we had to go, wanted to cover maximum distance possible, and under all favourable circumstances to reach the cave by tomorrow.

Devoted Sadhu

Devoted Sadhu

We set off on the trail quickly, a board was fixed along the road indicating slippery road ahead. But it was a dry rocky road, and we did not find hard walking on that. As we moved ahead the trail took a turn with a little decent and then the ascent began.

My friend Prabir & Ranen

My friend Prabir & Ranen

Me on the way to Nagakoti

Me on the way to Nagakoti

The Road ahead

The Road ahead

We met an Army Jawan there, a gentleman from Himachal, fully dedicated to his duty. He was the one man Army of his post. We took a little guidance from him and set off again.

A Jawan guarding his post

A Jawan guarding his post

Soon we reached under a waterfall, it was splendid, another one at the top was visible from there, over that a wooden bridge was made to cross over. We climbed up there and saw the last stretch of hike. It was then a walk of few minutes and we reached at Nagakoti.

Waterfall on the way

Waterfall on the way

Wooden Bridge at the top to crossover

Wooden Bridge at the top to crossover

The Last Hike to Nagakoti

The Last Hike to Nagakoti

Each step of the journey was much a delight to the heart, mind and soul, and every step brought us closer to our faith, belief and conviction. “Sa-ba, Baitho” said the horsemen, we did so and started our journey on the horse back again. We were now only 3kms away from the next major spot ‘Sheshnag’.

Journey to the Holy Cave continues…………

21 Comments

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Anupan ji,

    An excellent post with interesting narration and beautiful pics. In this post you have focused more on efforts of Indian Army to safeguard the pilgrims, that’s a commendable thing. Hats off to these soldiers for their restless work in these mighty mountains. You are looking a real ghumakkar in the pic – on the way to nagakoti.

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting post with us….

  • Nice post Anupam. You have covered every little points of the route. Picture have been captured beautifully as usual with excellent narration. Pahalgam route is more beautiful,scenic and greener than Baltal.
    Thanks for sharing. waiting for Sheshnag destination….

  • silentsoul says:

    Although two simultaneous tales of Amarnath yatra are going on, both are unique, one from the fast track Baltal route and yours from Pahalgam route, the old and original route to the holy cave.

    Very clear and little poetic description with great photos…. lage raho Anupam bhai :)

  • Arun says:

    A sincere thanks to Anupam Ji for sharing his experience and a grand salute to our Indian Army.

    Jai Hind
    Arun

  • Excellent narration and picturesque description of the journey. Keep continuing the good work Anupam…

  • Abhay says:

    Exciting description and excellent photos Anupam ji. I am also planning to visit Amarnath Ji, next Shravan. Seeing your courage and excitement, motivates me further.

  • Thanks Abhay. Wish you all the best for your Yatra, next year.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    You are still a King, for yourself and I guess that is the only thing which matters. While on one hand, it is reassuring to have Army there but the fact that we need automatic machine guns toting folks even around such a pious place, defies the whole logic of evolution.

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful pics and your journey. Chale Chalo.

  • Very true, but somewhere in Pakistani forum, I read they are projecting that India Govt is promoting Amarnath Yatra to establish firm its claim on Kashmir. So behind all probable terrorist attacks on Amarnath yatra such thoughts might be working, which also defies all logic.

    Thanks Nandan.

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi Anupam

    It is really interesting to note that the readers here are getting the chance of reading two different travel logs on the yatra of Amarnath. One is of-course of yours and the another from Naresh Sehgal. The more interesting things are that one is in English and another is in Hindi and the most important one is that one is from Pehlgam route and another is from Baltal (although SS sir already mentioned this, but believe me God is my witness I did not see his ccooment until I scrolled above to check a spelling, may be we were on the same wavelength… LOL)

    Nevertheless, it really needs courage to do such a yatra and then require a lot of patience to write it. Pics are very beautiful. The reference of Swami Vivekanand and the quote of sister Nivedita are really praiseworthy . (Of your previous post on it)

    Thanx for sharing…

  • Sharmistha Dan says:

    The journey to Nagakoti is even more scenic compared to that of Pishutop and I assume that the beauty quotient will keep increasing. The more beautiful…the more scary. I very thought of crossing that wooden bridge across the waterfall runs a shiver down my spine. Eager to read the continuing post.

  • Glad that you liked it. Hope, you will also like the coming post.

    Thanks

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