Package Name: Amarnath Cave Trek from Pahalgam..explore the mysteriously beautiful and divine Himalayas..
The usual belief is that a Himalayan pilgrim trek is for the religious minded only! This thinking would unfortunately limit many people from the opportunity of experiencing the stunning sights, sounds and the friendly hill families of the Great Himalayas. A route which would otherwise be extremely difficult to trek has been made easy by the hospitality of the pilgrimage organizers. Any person who is physically fit and has a call for the mountains, crisp fresh air, and love for nature must keep this trek in his/her wish list.
The Holy Amarnath Cave is a Hindu shrine located at a height of 3,888 meters above sea level and can be reached via Pahalgam. It is believed that Lord Shiva gave lessons on immortality to his wife Parvati here in this cave. It is a revered destination for thousands of pilgrims which include the common man, women, trekkers and sadhus (who by their sheer presence add a magnetic charm to the whole journey).
The most important step towards this adventure is Registration. Registration is done in Srinagar and a date is allocated for the yatra. It is important to go with the dates allocated to avoid bad weather which can spoil or dampen the journey. Physical preparedness to undertake steep hill treks is equally important. Make sure you start walking for a month and practice climbing, even stairs.
The Amaranth Route via Pahalgam is the historic one which traces the steps of Lord Shiva and Parvati. It is a 45 km 3 day trek and starts in Pahalgam. Pahalgam to Chandanwari is 15 km and is a pleasant drive. The trek starts from Chandanwari and the first day’s climb involves Pissutop and Nagakoti. The night halt is at the magnificient Sheshnag Lake campsite. The second day’s climb is for Mahaguna Pass and Pashpathri and the night halt at Panchatarini campsite. The third morning’s trek finds you at the Amarnath Shrine. After “darshan” one can descend via Baltal and halt at Baltal basecamp.
Chandanwari welcomes you with a dramatic scene of loads of pilgrims and innumerable horses! There is a warm welcome of drinks, nuts and even chocolates! Most pilgrims choose to go on a horse rather than on their feet. The other two options are the palanquin and the helicopter. The landscape along the trek is breathtakingly beautiful. Walking along the blue Lidder River across vast expanse of green forests full of pine trees and waterfalls is the first day’s experience. While there are steep climbs there are the leisurely strolls too, sometimes next to a valley and at other times through flat green meadows. There are ample opportunities to play with snow as you cross through glaciers and frozen rivers. The emerald waters of the Holy Sheshnag Lake welcome you after a day’s trek and local Kashmiri families working at the campsite offer their warm hospitality to the pilgrims. At the campsites facilities of warm water, electricity, warm tents with mattresses and blankets are provided. There are the devotee volunteers who set up food stalls for free for the pilgrims. It is a heartening welcome.
In the morning you wake up to see the snowcapped Sheshnag Mountains all around you. Then the climb begins to Mahaguna Pass and the greens of the previous day give way to brown and barren mountains. The Indian army welcomes you here. After a short descent, a five star equivalent buffet awaits the pilgrims. Finally the last destination of the second day is the Panchatarini campsite. On the third day a short ascent takes the traveler to the Amarnath Shrine. It is crowded with pilgrim and many shops set up by the locals. Hot water to bathe and a bed to take a short nap, are available for the pilgrims if required. After a brief and quick “darshan”, pilgrims head to Baltal campsite 14 km away. The descent via Baltal route is much quicker but the landscape is not as stunning as the Pahalgam route.