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




  1. To begin with, Sridharan, you're a lot braver than I am! What an incredible trip! And what breathtaking views! Wow! Your photos are terrific! Thank you so much for sharing this with us along with so much fascinating history! I'm in awe! Hope your weekend is going well!


  2. Welcome back Sridharan, as I wrote earlier today i was looking forward to your posts!
    You returned with quite an amazing post i have to say! Not surprised you were scared, it seems an extraordinary expedition and you really had to trust the animals!

  3. Thanks Sylvia.. It was an exciting trek.Have a great day!

  4. Thanks DeeBee L. The place was amazing. I have never mounted a horse before this trip and took a while to get adjusted. But the pony trekked impeccably well and its steps were precise!

  5. These are incredible pics Shridharan, when I had done the Kedarnath trek 16 years ago it was the scariest thing I had ever done! These look even more dangerous, looking at such pics my enthusiasm level goes down for undertaking the Yatra... But its a dream I hope will be fulfilled with the grace of Lord Amarnath...
    Your series of posts are one of the most eagerly awaited by me...

  6. Thanks Arti!.
    I guess, Amarnath trip is becoming risky by the day because of the enormous number of devotees trekking the narrow hilly path.I would love to visit Kedar as well one day. You must have been lucky and blessed to have visited almost all parts of Himalayas. I do want reiterate again that your posts have constantly been keeping my interest for trekking the Himalayan terrain alive..! I have always enjoyed your posts of Himalayas.
    By the way this post is the one that contains least number of Pics and Videos.! I was too scared to get my camera out while riding the Pony and there was only one stoppage for tea that is when I took the cam out. clicked tons in other places.!

  7. Wonderful images of pilgrimages. Heard a lot about this, bust so far not been part of this.

  8. Whoa! What a journey! You made it!

  9. अपनी भी यात्रा की याद ताजा हो गयी है।

  10. Thanks Rajesh..the trek was wonderful too.!

  11. Thanks Indrani. The return trek was indeed a tough journey. It was a great relief to hit the sack at the tent after being nearly for 6 hours on the horseback!

  12. Thanks Sandeep! Sorry, I am unable to reply in Hindi as I do not know it!

  13. Hope you visit the Char Dham soon...
    And I can understand being sacred to hold the camera, I have experienced it too!!

  14. Nice narration. Two weeks ago, I saw the Baltal camp while getting down Zozila Pass (from Ladakh). But never thought that it was just a day away from Amarnath!!

    The "feeling" of the Yatra was visible all along the route from Sonamarg to Srinagar.

    I will be doing this yatra sometime in the coming years!!

  15. Whoa!!! You went to Amarnath!!! Must have been a great experience!!!
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  16. What an amazing trip! Great photos!

  17. sridharan, I am late.... I do want to read the whole thing from the beginning. I will go in the descending order. A few years back I heard that the ice lingam has almost melted , I am not speaking about the waxing and waning of it. Did you see the full one, You have mentioned that photography is not allowed but I see a full ice Lingam.

  18. Arti
    Thanks for your wishes..I would love to visit the Char Dham..But haven't I be visiting them already through your posts!

  19. Thanks Arvind..You will enjoy the exciting trip..More so, if you decide to trek by walk!

  20. Thanks Bhushavali- It was an exciting experience indeed... Almost one of my life time for me..!

  21. Chitra, I just posted a couple of post of the trip.You haven't missed many. The ice lingam was about 5 ft tall when I saw. The photo that you see in my other post is from internet and not from my camera.


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