Amarnath

Road Trip to Amarnath – Part 3

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The last two kilometer of the journey is by trekking steeply down from a mountain top. The charismatic FIRST view of the magnificent holy cave steals away all wary and wears and tears at once gasping you spellbound and numb for sometime. I could have died of awe viewing the magnitude of the gigantic and colossal natural structure of the holy cave. I remained stand still for few minutes capturing the astonishing view into my mind through all my senses so that I can never miss the view ever in my life. No technology or camera in the world ever invented to present the picture as it looks through your nature’s gifted naked eyes. Now I understood, why people risk lives every year to visit and pay obeisance to it. Slowly I walked closer to the shrine with my eyes stuck to it. The way to the shrine is along side of river Amravati with temporary shops and tents with colorful insulated sheets as in Baltal. The path was through frozen glacier and the tents were erected on blocks of ice, sized in rectangles. An insulated sheet covering the base of the ice and some blankets and cotton mattresses over it is the bed for sleeping inside the tent. Once you touch the bed, it seems to be cold and wet though not exactly wet but feels the same due to extreme cold.

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Road Trip to Amarnath – Anantnag to Yatra-Trek

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At 7 PM we reached the base camp at Baltal, this road is operational only for 5-6 months in a year for carrying necessary items for the military deployed in the region at higher altitudes, the rest of the year the entire area is covered by snow. Baltal is a picturesque meadow on the bank of River Sindh flowing with all its might amidst, leaving a fertile land at the foot of the Zozi-la-pass, at an altitude of 3000 mtrs., winter here is as low as minus 10 degree Celsius. The public vehicles are parked far from the base camp and pilgrims are allowed to enter towards the base camp only after thorough checking with all prohibited items kept out. The private vehicles and the local taxis are however, allowed to park near the main entry of the base camp in the temporary parking lot alongside the river adjacent to the helipad. We therefore, parked our car at the parking lot retaining the rucksack with necessary items in it for the journey next morning. The entire meadow was converted into a temporary base camp with rows of colorful tents and shops selling necessary items like clothes, woolens, jackets, shawls, shoes, brush, paste, soap, shampoo, rain coats, umbrellas and what not as in any village fare. Hundreds of ponies braying and spreading dung polluted the atmosphere with pungent smell and the ground muddy.

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Amarnath Yatra: Baltal – Srinagar – Ambala (Part 8)

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The beauty of Sonamarg forces the tourists to stop there. It seems that someone has laid green carpets on mountains. Once a great tourist puller and favorite place for shooting of Bollywood films, Sonamarg is perhaps the best health resort in the country. Sonamarg also hosts the International Championships of Rafting on River Sindh.

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Amarnath Yatra : Panchtarni – Holy Cave (Part 7)

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Searched lights were switched off and we went towards check post, one CRPF man came and asked me to stay with them and allowed only Naresh Saroha to go towards Dispensary. I waited there for his return. After 10-15 minutes Naresh cane and we returned to our tent. Due to medicines, Naresh slept soon but I could not sleep after that. In the morning all wake up early and after completing our daily routines, we get ready to start the last day tracking. We took hot tea and Rusk/biscuits in breakfast and started the journey.

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Amarnath Yatra : Sheshnag to Panchtarni (Part 6)

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It is 1.5 kms rocky climb from Babaltop. Around 10:30 AM we reached MahagunasTop. Mahagunas Top is the highest point of the entire Yatra. It is a pass between two peaks which connects two mountain ranges and Sheshnag and Panjtarni camps. It is believed that here Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati left their son Lord Ganesha  and went to cave hence named Ganesh Top.

Due to snow all around heavy cold winds were blowing. We took a short photography session here and left this place soon as the clouds have started turning dark and there was no shelter nearby. Our next destination was at Poshpatri where we all have decided to meet. From Mahagunus top to Panjtarni there is either plane or descend track and at some places there is sharp descend. Due to snow, it becomes more difficult to descend. We were moving fast so that we can reach at Poshpatri before it started rain.

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Pahalgam to Sheshnag – Part 5 of Amarnath Yatra

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Pissutop is situated at an elevation of 2500 feet from Chandanwadi and from here there is steep, dangerous about 3 km, zig zag climb on rocky and rough surface. This is the terrific start from here. From our group, Shushil, Swarn and me had already come to this track more than once but for rest of members, it was a new experience. From the bottom, top of Pissutop is not visible. The top which is visible from down is the half way point and most of the Yatris think it as the Pissutop. Pissutop becomes visible only after reaching at the midpoint.

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Udhampur to Nunwan Base Camp (Pahalgam)

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We reached Kud town at around 8 o’clock. Many shops were closed in the market at that time but only a few were open. We purchased 2KG Patisa from Prem sweets which is one of the oldest and famous shops at Kud.
“Kud, a place of extraordinary scenic beauty, is located on the Udhampur Srinagar Highway, Jammu and Kashmir, India. This popular resort is situated on the Jammu-Srinagar highway at an altitude of 1738 meters. It is 95 KM from Jammu and 37 KM from Udhampur city; it is just short of the tourist spot of Patni Top while driving to Patni top from Udhampur. Kud is famous for its sweet shops that make hot and fresh Patisa, which is very popular with the tourists.”

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AMARNATH Yatra starts: Ambala to Udhampur

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The Amarnath Yatra was starting on 30th June 2010.We had decided to leave on first week of July and was waiting for opening of online registrations which was due on 5th June. I was preparing but was not sure whether I will be able to go or not because my mother was ill for some period.
Recently she was diagnosed with stones in GB. She was already suffering from heart, asthma and BP. She felt severe pain many times due to stones and her condition was deteriorating day by day.

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Important information for the Yatra

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Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath Shrine stands at 3,888 m, 46 Km from Pahalgam and 14 Kms from Baltal. Though the original pilgrimages subscribes that the Yatra (journey) be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin journey at Chandanwari, and cover the distance to Amarnathji. Pahalgam is 96 Kms from Srinagar. Amarnathji is considered to be one of the major Hindu Dhams. The holy cave is the abode of Lord Shiva. The guardian of the absolute, Lord Shiva, the destroyer, is enshrined in the form of an ice-lingam in this cave. This lingam is formed naturally, which is believed to wax and wane with the moon.

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Journey Tale of Both tracks (Pahalgam and Baltal)

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Dates (28th June to 21st Aug.) have been already announced for The Amarnath Yatra 2013 and duration has been extended to 55 Days. Yes, this is for first time in last 5 years, that Yatra Duration is set over 50 Days. Last time, it was only in 2008, the Duration of Yatra was 58 days. In 2012, Shri Amarnath ji Yatra was reduced to only 37 Days, for which the J&K State Government & Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board had faced a lot of heat from the various Social & Religious Organizations.

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Disappointing ‘Wular’ – The largest fresh water lake in Asia

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Each year during Amarnath Yatra we try to cover one new place of Kashmir excluding Srinagar. By this method we have covered Aru Valley, Betab Valley, Lidder valley, Pahalgam, Anant Nag, Avantipura, Verinag spring ( the chief source of the river Jhelum) Sonamarg, Gulmarg,  Mansabal lake etc. During 2009 Amarnath Yatra, we had planned to visit Wular Lake. After Darshan we started returned journey from Baltal towards Srinagar early in the morning.

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My 12th Amarnath Yatra – Trip Report and Pictures , Part 2

My 12th Amarnath Yatra – Trip Report and Pictures , Part 2

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We get up at 5.30 AM. It was very cold outside. Around 6 AM we came out of tent to proceed further to Holy Cave. We took a bucket of hot water for Rs.50 from Tentwala and wash our face and hands etc. We did not take bath as we were so tired and weather was very cold. We took a cup of tea and stood in the line for Darshan. After Aarti, Darshan started at 7:30AM. Around 8.15 AM we reached in holy cave .All the atmosphere was filled with the Jaikare of Bam Bam Bhole. We forget all our tiredness and body pain after Darshan. We were feeling so energetic. I got very emotional after Darshan. A full size ice lingam was in front of my eyes. As I already mention that this was my 12th Yatra to Holy cave but this year ice lingam size was the biggest I have ever seen. We spent around 40 minutes in the Holy cave and offered some rituals. We came down from the cave. As we had not taken lunch and dinner yesterday, we were very hungry. We took one prantha each and tea from the Bhandara and started journey towards Baltal. It was around 9.30 AM. There were frequent traffic jam on the ways due to heavy rush. At 3:45 PM we reached at Domel and went to Barfani sewa mandal Bhandara. We took lunch there and rested for night at there.

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