Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amarnath Trek

Upanishads talk of  God as attribute-less - Nirguna Brahmam..!  We, mortals, can neither conceive nor comprehend the attribute-less God. So, we start with worshiping the God with attributes-Saguna Brahmam.

Amarnath Ice Lingam connotes God's manifestation as Saguna Brahmam from Nirguna Brahmam.- To One with attributes from the One without attributes..! Lord Shiva manifests as Saguna Brahmam - Ice Lingam from attribute-less nothingness- Nirguna Brahmam..!
A rare phenomena that yogis spend thousands of lives in meditation to perceive..! In Kali Yuga, Lord Shiva with his boundless Grace  gives us the opportunity to see him with our physical eyes..!

Amarnath cave is also the place chosen by the Lord - the Paramatma to teach us the Jeevathma, the secret of immortality.  Amarnath , the Paramathma, chose this place to teach the secret of Amarathvam-Immortality to Parvathy, the Jeevathma..!

The legend has that two doves have listened to the secret of Amarathwam and live there for ever immortal. Why doves ...and why not any other creature?. Doves symbolizes freedom- Do Lord Amarnath tell us - we too can become immortal by being free of material desires ... as free as these doves and attain immortality, the goal of our life.?

Baltal and Pehalham are the two base locations from where the trek to Amarnath can start. Baltal is short (14kms), but harder while Pehalham is longer(45kms) and takes longer.

We took the trek from Baltal base camp.

The following links give good amount of details on Amarnath Yatra

 It took us around 7 Hours to reach the top by Pony of which about 1 hour would have been spent on waiting for security check and traffic Jam. We reached top @ about 10 and finished Darshan of Ice lingam at 12:30. Started the return trek down @2:30pm to return to the Baltal base camp @8:30pm.

The return journey was more arduous as it rained for an hour at 2:30pm and the path turned slippery. Even the Pony struggled. There were a few patches where I had to get down from the horse and walk. It turned out to be one of the nightmarish experiences to trek the slippery trail..!

We were lucky to have returned the same day, as the Yatra was stopped for two days from the next day because of the rains and landslide..! If it had rained in the morning, we would have been struck on top of the mountain for two days under not-so- very-pleasant climatic conditions and facilities.! Lord Amarnath was kind on us..!

I did not remember, I carried a camera on my return journey..I was too scared to remove my hands from the saddle grip..! These limited photos were taken during the climb up and during the rest for 10 minutes at the half way mark..the light conditions were challenging too for photography!

Let's begin the the steep and arduous climb up to the Amarnath Cave..! Cameras are not allowed in the cave..!

Waiting for the security check at the base at 3 am..!

I trusted them for my life..!

My Friend Ram

It is me..!

Rest at the half-way mark..!

White lines are the ice rivers

Isn't it scary?

The steep climb is tough & scary

With the horseman and helper of my return trip

Photo Story