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Amarnath Yatra

Posted by Kashmir and Ladakh Packages on June 2, 2011 at 12:50 AM

Amarnath Cave

One of the holy Trinity, Shiva is a living God. the most sacred and the most ancient book of India, the Rigveda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, rituals and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time. But Shiva, Destroyer, the mendicant, is undefinable : He is a great yogi. Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in a Cave in Amarnath. Unkown to them a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the doves pair when they trek the ardous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam.

According to an ancient tale, there was once a Muslim Shepherd named Buta Malik who was given a sack of coal by a sadhu. Upon reaching home he discovered that the sack, in fact, contained Gold. Overjoyed and overcome, Buta Malik rushed back to look for sadhu and thank him.
But on the spot of their meeting discovered a cave, and eventually this became a place of pilgrimage for all believers. To date , a percentage of the donations made by pilgrims are given to the descendents of Malik, and the remaining to trust which manages the shrine.
Ye another legend has it that when Kashyap Rishi drined the Kashmir valley of water the cave and lingam were discovered by Bregeish Rishi who was travelling the Himalays. When people heard of lingam Amarnath for the became Shiva's abode and a centre of pilgrimage.

How to Reach ?

From Pahalgam

Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Amarnath stands at 3888 mtrs and 46 Kms from Pahalgam and 141 Kms from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribe that Yatra be undertaken from Srinagar , the more common practice is to begin journey from Chandanwari and cover the distance to Amarnath and back in 5 days. Pahalgam is 96 Kms from Srinagar. the trek from Chandanwari to Cave is on an ancient peregerine route. pilgrims camp at Pahalgam or Chandanwari on the first night out.

The first day's trek of 12 Kms from Chandanwari is through spectacular primeval country side and the main centre of attraction is Sheshnag a mountain which derves its name from seven peaks resembling the head of mythical snake. A cascading stream accompanies you with wild scenery untouched by modern civilzation. The second night camp at Wavjan overlooks the deep blue waters of Sheshnag lake and glaciers beyond it. The tales of love and revenge associated
with Sheshnag are recounted by campfires to the stillnes of pine scented Himalyan night.

The second day 12 km trek steadily gains height winding across Mahagunas Pass at 4600 mtrs and then descendeing to the meadow land of Panchtarni the last camp enroute to Amarnath Cave.

From Panchtarni to Amarnath the distance is 6kms and an early morning start is recommended for there is long queue awaitning entry at the cave. The same day devotees after darshans can return to Panchtarni in time for lunch and continue upto Sheshnag for night halt.

For those who journey with faith it is a rewarding experience.

From Baltal
The second approach to Amarnath is from Sonamarg via Baltal alt. 3000 mtrs. . Sonamarg is situated on Srinagar-Leh road north east from Srinagar. About 15 kms ahead lies Baltal which is charming little valley lying in the foothills of Zojila Pass. The holy cave is just a days journey from here. At domail 2 kms from Baltal free langar(community Kitchen) facility is available. The trek from here is very steep and therefore needs great caution and care. Some teastalls are available at Brarimarg and Sangam top. Several snow bridges on the fast flwing streams are to be crossed

and during rains the road becomes slippery. At sangam top the road meets Pahalgam route. At Baltal Ponies/Dandies/Pack ponies /porters are available on Govt. approved rates.

The nearest Airport is away in Badgam Distt. This Airport is connected with major cities of India. The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu which is 300 Kms away and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with country.Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxis ply on this Highway. It Takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountaineous road which crosses some beautiful spots andthe famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with country.

Do's and Don'ts for Pilgrims (Yatries)

1. Please ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to perform the journey as the Yatra involves trekking at an altitude of 14000ft. Get yourself medically examined and certified fit for the journey and forward the certificate to the registerin authority designated for your area of residence.
2. Do carry sufficient heavy wollens including sweaters, wollen thermal body warmers, trousers, monkey caps, muffelers and any other cold fighting apparels. Other items needed to be carried are wind cheaters,raincoats, sleeping bags, blankets,water proof shoes with sufficient grips,small water proof tents, torch with sufficient batteries and walking sticks. Ladies are advised to avoid sarees. Instead body hussging clothing like salwar Kamiz, pants etc are advised.
3. Carry dry eatable stocks with you viz. biscuits, sugar,candies, chocolates, milk powder, assorted dry fruits,pickles, honey,lemons and tinned foods and other items suiting your palates. Water bottle, spoons,tumblers,saucers and plates may also be carried.
4. Ration and firewood quota is also made available enroute and can be purchased.
5. Registered ponywalla,porter,dandyman may only be hired. They are available for prefixed tarrifs.
6. Ponies carrying luggage and eatables should remain with you all the time. At no point of time should you get out of touch with them. This is to avoid inconvinience.
7. Move slowly and steadily as this is a ardous pilgrimage and maintain discipline. Instructions of Yatra officer should be adhered to.Various officials are deployed by the Govt. for your help.
8. Carry sufficient money to pay for your accomodation at Pahalgam and meeting your other requirements.
9. All medical facilities during yatra are free. It is advisable to carry your own personal medical kit and First aid box.
10. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.
11. Don't overstarin on steep gradients.
12. Don't realx at places where warning signes are fixed.
13. Don't break traffic discipline.
14. Do not pay more to any of the hired services for which the prices are fixed.
15. Yatries without registration card, Aged,infirm, ailing and ill clad persons will not be allowed to proceed beyond Pahalgam and Baltal.

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