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Amarnath

I was the lucky few who made it to the Amarnath caves during 2005. As the year next was bogged by rumors of artificial Shiv ling created and so on. 2007 also saw a short span with a very small shiv ling that did not last for long. And during 2009 it has been due to the controversial land allotted for the Amarnath Shrine board and then reverting it. With the kind of political situation in J&K I doubt that it would be possible in 2010.

(23-07-2005 to 29-07-2005)

One of my collegue from my previous organization had a plan of going to Amarnath and as always I was ready to accompany him. He had started from Bangalore and I joined him in Haridwar. We took a train till Jammu and rested there before starting our journey till Pahalgham. We took a cab to Pahalgham from Jammu. Since during the Amarnath season there is a heavy rush usually it is a mad rush where people are willing to pay anything between a 100 and 500 bucks for the cab trip. We were able to pay some extra money to the driver to allow us sit in the front rows from where we could have a very good view of the journey from Jammu to Pahalgham and our journey was halted before Ananthnag by the Army as it was getting late in night and they made us stay for the night in a makeshift camp they had arranged in a FCI godown.

We continued our journey next day morning and on reaching pahalgham took a bus to the final spot from where our Trekking to amarnath would start . I still remember how we were accompanied by some young kashmiri students who were more than friendly and willing to know more about us. The ascend to the Amarnath starts with a very steep note. This is to discourage the weak heart not to continue and only the strong one may proceed. The path till Amarnath cave is very hard and adding to that is the climatic conditions. Since the mountain paths does not have electricity of proper lighting you may only hop between army camps from sunrise to sunset. In these camps there are very good arangement for food (which is free) and lodging in makeshift tents which are reasonable.

My decision to carry my own luggage in a mountaineering kit which initially seemed exciting but proved to be a bad decision. With little or no experience of high altitude and very little oxygen it was becoming very hard for me. Withing few mins of start I start feeling the heaviness and was exhausted enough not being able move a step further.. But since it was a pilgrimage i resisted the urge to hire a pony and decided that I would walk all the way till the holy caves. I did have someone hired to carry my bags.

The only determination that makes you to proceed is the will to see the Ice Ling and believe me when I tell it is really enchanting to have a look at the Cave . The sight of thousands of devoted people marching towards the shrine ignoring physical and mental pain is worth seeing..

We took bath in the freezing river below Amarnath Caves. And had the dharshan of Bhole Baba (Ice Shivlingh) and on our way back took the Baltal route.

The Trek till baltal has steep ascends and descends. (Should be avoided if not physically fit/old/ or joint ailments.

From Baltal we took a cab to Srinagar. All though the news channels might post a rosy picture of Srinagar the actuall scenario is not so. You will find a tense enviroment with Army vehicles all over and with a mood that looks like anything might occur in the next few minutes. Amongst all this we took some time out for sight seeing in and around Srinagar and then made our way back to Jammu from where we had to board the train which would take us back to our respective home.

 

Read more about the Amarnath history and facts  Here



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