Durations : 07 Night / 08 Days
Destinations : Srinagar - Pahalgam - Amarnath Holy Cave - Srinagar
DAY 01 : SRINAGAR
On arrival at Srinagar, you are met by the company's representative at Srinagar airport and transferred to the deluxe houseboat. Afternoon free for personal activities. Overnight stay at houseboat.
DAY 02 : SRINAGAR - LOCAL SIGHTSEEING ( 50 KMS)
Half-day tour of famous Mughal Gardens visiting Cheshma Shahi (Royal Spring), Nishat (Garden of Pleasure), Shalimar ( Abode of Love). Return to Dlx. House Boat for Hot lunch. In the afternoon Shikara ride on Lake - Dal to enjoy the beauty that God has Graced the City with which is often is Compared to Venice. You will get a view of some very interesting places around the lake. Overnight at deluxe houseboat.
DAY 03 : SRINAGAR - PAHALGAM ( 93 KMS)
Leave Srinagar by cars/coaches 93 km half-day drive to Pahalgam (2440 mt) en-route visit Saffron fields, Awantipuram ruins, and Mattan temple. On the way see some beautiful villages. Pahalgam is the most famous place for Indian film Industry. Enjoy the charm of the Valley. Overnight at hotel.
DAY 04: PAHALGAM - CHANDANWARI ( 2895 MTS.) 16 KMS. DRIVE - SHESH NAG ( 12KM) TREK)
Leave after early breakfast from Pahalgam to Chandanwari by cars. Immediately start trekking ascending towards Shesh Nag which is 12 km trek. Steep Ascending towards Pishoo Ghati Pass (13000 ft). Overnight in tents at Shesh Nag.
DAY 05 : SHESH NAG ( 3377 MTS) - PANCHTHARNI ( 14 KMS TREK)
Start early morning for a steep ascent up to Maha Gunas Great Viper ( 14500 ft). Then as easy descent up to Panchtharni situated at the Mt. Bhairva. Overnight at tents.
DAY 06 : PANCHTHARNI ( 3657 MT) - AMARNATH ( 3953 MT) 6 KMS TREK - BALTAL ( 4 HRS TREK)
Start after breakfast steep ascent towards Amarnath Holy Cave where you can see Ice Lingam. This is the holy cave for Hindus and thousands of people visit the place during full moon day. From Amarnath steep descent towards Baltal 3 to 4 hrs walk. Overnight in tents.
DAY 07 : BALTAL - SONAMARG - SRINAGAR ( 113 KMS) DRIVE.
From Baltal, it is a 15 km drive to Sonamarg. Sonamarg ( 2690 Mts) is the most beautiful spot of Kashmir Valley. It is known as the Gateway of Ladakh. Continue to drive to Srinagar, which takes 3 hrs from Sonamarg. Overnight at deluxe houseboat.
DAY 08 : SRINAGAR
Transfer in time to the airport to connect flight for onward destination.
There is a famous Rigvedic Verse that says " Ekam Sat " that is " There is one Being, the sages call Him by many names." The God (Parmeshwar) has three deities who carry on the world. This is Known as Holy Trinity. Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh ) - the purifier and perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse. " We Worship Tryambaka (Rudra), Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment, May He release me, like the cucumber from its stem, From Mortal Life, But not From Immorality. "(Rig Veda Mandal VII Sukta 59 and Mantra 12) The Yajurveda describes Shiva as an ascetic warrior Whose robe is of Deer Skin and He carries Trishul.
According to the verse Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram, the life is described as having three facets Truth (Satyam), Good (Shivam), and the Beautiful (Sundaram). Shiva is a living God. The most Sacred and ancient books of India, the Rig Veda narrates His presence in the hymns. Vedic myths, rituals, and even astronomy testify to His existence from the dawn of time. The Mohindaro and Harappa findings confirm Shiva worship in ancient India. According to the older scriptures, He has three places of His residence. One is Kailash Parvat another is Lohit Giri under which the Brahmaputra flows and third is Muzwan Parvat.
The Amarnath Cave has special significance .
The Legend about the importance of Amarnath Cave is as follows:
This is The Cave which was chosen by Bhole Shankar for narrating the secrets of immortality and creation of Universe to Maa Parvati Ji. The story goes like this. Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked Shiv Ji to let her know why and when He started wearing the beads of heads ( Mund Mala). Bhole Shankar replied whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads Maa Parvati said," My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this ." Bhole Shankar replied that it is due to Amar Katha ."
Maa Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva Ji continued postponing. Finally, on consistent demand from Maa Parvati, He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret. He started for a lonely place where no living being could listen to it. He chooses Amarnath Cave. In preparation for that, He left His Nandi ( The Bull which He used to ride ) at Pahalgam (Bail gaon). At Chandanwari He released Moon from his hairs (Jason). At the banks of Lake Sheshnag, He released the snakes. He decided to leave his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill ). At Panjtarni, Shivji left the Five Elements behind (Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Sky) which make living beings. He is the Lord of these elements. It is believed that as a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world, Shivaji and Maa Parvati had Tandav Dance. After leaving behind all these, Bhole Shankar enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati Maa. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate. To ensure that no living being can hear the Immortal Tale, He created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this, He started narrating the secret of immortality to Maa Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non-living and it was protected by Shiva - Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened to the secret of immortality (Amar Katha). Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of pigeons when they trek the arduous route to pay their obeisance before the Ice - Lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).
Discovery of Holy Cave
The story narrated by people about the discovery of this Holy Cave is of a Gujjar ( shepherd) Buta Malik. He is given the credit of discovering this Holy Cave. The story goes like this, that a saint gave Buta Malik a bag full of Coal. On reaching his home when he opened the bag, to his utter surprise the bag was full of gold coins. This made him overwhelmed with joy. He ran to thank the Saint. But, what he found was that the Saint had disappeared. Instead, he found The Holy Cave and Shiv Lingam therein. He announced the discovery of this to the Villagers. Then onwards this has become the sacred place of Pilgrimage .
The ancient epics narrate another story which goes like this. The valley of Kashmir was underwater. It was a big lake. Kashyap Rishi drained the water through several rivers and rivulets. In those Days Bhrigu Rishi came that way on a visit to The Himalayas. He was the first to have Darshans of this Holy Cave. When people heard of the Lingam, Amarnath for them became Shiva's abode and a Centre of pilgrimage. Since then Lacs of devotees perform the pilgrimage through tough terrain and avail eternal happiness.The trek to Amarnath, in the month of Shravan ( July - August) has the devout flock to this incredible shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the form of a Lingam, is formed naturally of an Ice Stalagmite, which waxes and wanes with the Moon's cycle. By its side are fascinating, two more Ice Lingams, that of Maa Parvati and their son, Ganesha .
When To Take UP Yatra
The Amarnath Yatra is organized every year by the J & K Govt. during the month of Shravan ( July and August); the dates, however, vary every year looking at the weather conditions and according to Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) in the month of Sharavan (Vikrama Samwat). Yatra to Baba Amarnath Holy Cave for which one has to trek a height of about 14,500 ft is full of thrill and joy. The feeling of the divine which is always beneath ones' heart, bursts out and one realizes 'Moksha' as one attends the Cave and performs the prayer before the Shivlinga. Surrounded by beautiful valleys, mountains, one will always feel His presence on the paradise of the earth, the memory of which hardly vanishes with time A journey which will rediscover the nature and its love which is always inside but one has never felt.
The climatic conditions are very uncertain . Rain or snowfall may take place at any time or place during the Yatra. It is to be particularly noted that abrupt changes in temperature might occur. Sunny weather may turn into rain/snowfall in a short time.The temperature may fall up to - 5 degree C .
How to Perform Pilgrimage
For performing this Yatra, one is required to get registered. The registration is done by J & K Govt. Tourist Offices, located at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jammu and Srinagar .
Applications for registration in the prescribed format which is reproduced here. You can get the print out of this form and this can be used for registration. The filled-in form should be sent to the registration office nearest to you, along with two passport size photographs duly affixed at the indicated places, a self-addressed pre-stamped envelope (for speed post) and a medical fitness certificate from an MBBS doctor. Each yatri has to submit a separate application for registration. Every yatri will be issued a registration - cum - identity slip by the registration authority. Yatris are advised to carry this identity slip during the Yatra period to ensure a smooth passage
All Yatris are advised the following :
Insurance : In view of the hazardous nature of the Yatra, pilgrims are advised to get themselves insured suitably. It is advised that insurance coverage may be got done before leaving their place of residence.
Personal Tips : Because of the unpredictable weather conditions, which often are wet and extremely cold during the Yatra period, pilgrims are advised to carry a raincoat, woolen clothing, small umbrella (with head elastic band and strap around the chin), walking stick, dry fruits, torch, and personal medical kits, etc accommodation, and shelters at nominal charges.
Route Map: Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of the Lidder Valley, Amarnath Holy Cave stands at 3,888 meters. and is 363 km. from Jammu Via Pahalgam and about 414 km. from Jammu Via Baltal. The detailed description of the two routes to the Holy Cave is given below:
How to Reach
One can reach the first part of journey through
Air : The nearest aerodrome is Srinagar. Srinagar is a beautiful valley having world-famous sights to see, such as Dal Lake, Nagina Lake, Shankaracharya Temple, Mughal Gardens, and whatnot. It is the most sought after tourist place. It is also known as " Paradise on earth ". Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir. There are daily flights to Srinagar from Delhi and Jammu. On some week Days flights also pickup passengers from Chandigarh and Amritsar .
Rail : Jammu is the nearest Railway Station . Jammu is the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir. Jammu is a beautiful city and is also known as " CITY OF TEMPLES ". One may visit old temples such as Raghunath Temple, Mahadev Mandir, and other temples. It is well connected with all stations in India. The various trains coming to Jammu are listed here below.
Road : Jammu and Srinagar are also connected through the road. Buses and Taxies are also available for this part of the journey. These can be hired on daily as well as full tour basis.
Do's & Don'ts
*Prepare for Yatra by achieving Physical fitness To perform smooth and trouble-free yatra, it is advisable to start a preparatory morning/evening walk of about 4 - 5 km per day at least a month before Yatra. Apart from above If you can have a daily massage of your body with body oil, preferably mustard (Sarson) oil and bathe in the lukewarm water, this will help your body to become flexible and you will not feel tired. Moreover, the effect of a sudden change in temperature & climate on you will be reduced to a large extent. As oxygen gets rare some times, It is better to improve your physical fitness. To increase your body efficiency of oxygen, it is very good to start deep breathing exercises. The Yoga exercise like Prana Yam can be learned
*Carry needful warm clothing and windshield and proper shoes. You have to trek through high mountains and cold winds are blowing. So during the Yatra, take Woollen Clothings, Small Umbrella (only Head Cover with Elastic around Forehead and supported by a strap around the chin), Windshield, Raincoat, Waterproof Shoes ( Preferably Hunter Shoes), Torch, Stick, Cap (preferably Monkey Cap), Gloves, Jacket, Woollen Socks, and Trousers.
These are essential as the climate is unpredictable and changes abruptly from sunny weather to rain and snow. The temperature may abruptly fall even up to - 5 degree C.
*Keep a slip with your Name, Address and the name of accompanying yatri in your pocket
*Take a water bottle, dry fruit, and baked grams with you during journey
*Keep some cold cream or vaseline with you to protect skin from cold winds
*Take a little relaxation on steep inclines and don't exert yourself too much.
*Yatris are advised to follow the instructions issued by Yatra Administration.
*It is requested that do provide all needful help to the co - devotee traveling with you.
*Perform yatra with a pious mind and keep enchanting " Om Namah Shivay" all the way.
*During the Yatra from Pahalgam onward, keep your clothes and eatables in a plastic bag to
*Avoid the things being drenched during the rain
*Carry some common medicines such as Glucose, Disprin, etc. with you for immediate relief.
*Sari is not a suitable dress for the Yatra. Ladies should not wear saris as it may be very inconvenient. Salwar kameez, pant shirt or a Tracksuit will be very comfortable
*Keep the horses/ponies with your luggage and Coolies alongside as it is difficult to trace them in case you are separated from them. Moreover, you may need some of those useful items from luggage any time at a short notice.
*Best suitable shoes are Hunter shoes and most comfortable Dress is woolen tracksuit.
*The best way to perform Yatra is to keep a steady and slow pace.
*Don't exert more by fast walking. The moral of the story of Hare and tortoise is best applicable here.
*Don't stop at such places which are marked by warning notices
*Don't take drugs during Yatra.
*The children and aged persons are advised not to perform yatra, keeping in view the tough nature of the yatra..
*Don't use Slippers because of the steep rises and falls on the route to the Holy Cave
*Don't attempt short cuts on the route as it is very dangerous.