Friday, 24 June 2011

BSNL Launches telecom services for Amarnath Yatra

Pan-India telecom operator BSNL today announced the launch of telecom services covering the Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage, which will enable nearly 3 lakh devotees to stay connected with their loved ones back home. The Amarnath Yatra is organised every year by the Jammu & Kashmir government in the months of July and August.
"We have made BSNL GSM coverage available on the entire Amarnath Yatra route. Pilgrims may like to carry BSNL mobiles to avail uninterrupted coverage," state-run BSNL CMD R K Updhyaya said.
Every year, around 3 lakh pilgrims visit Amarnath Yatra, for which the devotees have to trek to a height of 14,500 feet.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Amarnath Yatra 2011 - All you wanted to know About It Story of the Holy Shrine


Story of the Holy Shrine
Behind the discovery of the Holy Shrine lies an interesting story. Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked Shivji to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala), to which Bhole Shankar replied, “whenever you are born I add more heads to my bead”. Parvati said, “I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please tell me the reason behind this”. “Bhole Shankar replied that for this you will have to listen to the Amar Katha”
Shiv agreed to narrate the detailed story to Maa Parvati. He started for a lonely place where no living being could listen to the immortal secret and ultimately chose Amarnath Cave. In the hush-hush, he left his Nandi (the Bull which He used to ride) at Pahalgam. At Chandanwari, he released Moon (Chand) from his hair (Jataon). At the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he released the snakes. He decided to leave his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat. At Panjtarni, Shivji left the Five Elements behind (Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky) which give birth to life and of which he is the Lord.  After leaving behind all these, Bhole Shankar entered the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati Maa and took his Samadhi. To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, he created 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 a pair of pigeons overhead the story and became immortal.

Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of pigeons at the Holy Shrine even today and are amazed as to how these birds survive in such a cold and

Provisions
One can also buy ration at fair prices from the specially established Govt. Depots at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panjtarni. Numerous tea-stalls and small restaurants can be of great relief. However, pilgrims are advised to carry with them biscuits, toffees, tinned food etc. to cater to their immediate needs. Firewood or gas can be obtained at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni and near the Cave.
Insurance
A Yatri duly registered by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board for the Yatra 2010, having a valid Yatra Permit issued by the SASB will be entitled to an insurance cover of Rs. One lac in case of death due to accident while undertaking the Yatra.
Accommodation
Insulated huts and tents are installed during the Yatra at various Camps. These are available on rentals.
Registration
Get a registration done about a month ahead of the date fixed for the commencement of Yatra.
DO’s
1. Prepare for the Yatra by achieving Physical Fitness. It is advisable to start a preparatory Morning/ Evening walk, about 4-5 km per day, at-least a month prior to the Yatra. With a view to improving oxygen efficiency of the body, it may be useful to start deep breathing exercise and Yoga, particularly Pranayam. As the Yatra involves trekking at an altitude of 14,800 ft, do have yourself medically examined for the journey. An yatri needs to certify his medical competence to undertake the Yatra while applying for the Yatra Permit at the time of registration.
2. Embark on the Yatra only after obtaining a valid Yatra Permit after due registration as per the procedure prescribed by the SASB.
3. You have to trek through high mountains, facing strong cold winds. Do carry woolen clothing, a small umbrella (which covers the head with elastic around forehead and supported by a strap around the chin), wind-cheater, raincoat, sleeping bag, waterproof shoes, torch, stick with proper hand grip, cap (preferably monkey cap), gloves, jacket, woolen socks and trousers. These are essential as the climate is unpredictable and changes abruptly from sunny weather to rain and snow. The temperature may sometimes abruptly fall to 5 degrees Celsius or lower.
4. For Ladies, saree is not a suitable dress for the Yatra. Salwar kameez, pant-shirt or a track suit will be more comfortable for yatris.
5. Keeping in view the tough nature of the trek, small children should not undertake the Yatra.
6. Make sure that the ponywalla, the labouror, the dandiwalla is properly registered and carries an ID Card. You can get these allotted at rates fixed by the local administration, at the camps at Baltal, Nunwan (Pahalgam), Panjtarni etc. Keep the porters and horses/ ponies with your luggage alongside as it may be difficult to trace them in case you get separated from them. This is necessary as you may suddenly need something from your luggage.
7. During the Yatra from Pahalgam/Baltal onwards keep your clothes and eatables in a suitable water proof bag to avoid the belongings getting wet
8. Carry sufficient money to pay for your accommodation at base camps and at other stations enroute to the Holy Cave and for meeting other personal requirements.
9. To enable urgent necessary action in case of any emergency please keep in your pocket a note containing the name/address/mobile telephone number of any Yatri proceeding for Darshan on the same date as you are doing. Also carry your identity card/ driving license and your Yatra Permit issued by the SASB.
10. Carry all the medicines which you take daily and, also some general medicines such as Glucose, Disprin, Combiflam, Move/Iodex, etc.
11. Carry a water bottle, dry fruits, roasted baked grams/channa, toffees, sufficient chocolates, etc. for use during the journey.
12. Keep some Cold Cream/ Vaseline/ Sun Screen with you to protect the skin from the cold winds/ sun. To have clear vision on sunny days keep dark glasses / goggles handy.
13. While trekking, relax for a short while on steep inclines and don’t exert yourself beyond your normal capacity.
14. The best way to perform the Yatra is to maintain a slow and steady pace. You will unnecessarily exhaust/tire yourself by walking fast.
15. Provide all help to fellow Yatris, traveling with you and perform Yatra with a pious mind.
16. Yatris are advised to strictly follow the instructions issued by the Yatra Administration from time to time.
17. Earth, water, air, fire, and sky are integral parts of Lord Shiva. The Base Camps  and the entire Yatra routes are the abode of Shri Amarnathji. You must, therefore, respect the environment and do nothing whatsoever to pollute it. Use of Plastic is strictly banned and punishable under law.
18. Use latrines / bathrooms in camps erected by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board. Don’t def├ęcate in the open.
19. Cash offerings should be put in donation boxes of Shrine Board only. You may also prefer to donate through this website.

DON’TS
1. Don’t stop at places which are marked by warning notices.
2. Don’t smoke and don’t carry/consume any kind of narcotic or alcoholic substance.
3. Don’t use slippers because there are steep rises and falls on the route to the Holy Cave. Wear shoes with laces.
4. Don’t attempt any short cuts on the route as doing so would be dangerous. Do not break traffic discipline or try to overtake others in difficult stretches of the route.
5. Do not do anything during the entire Yatra which could cause pollution or disturb the environment of the Yatra area. Use of polythene is banned in the State and is punishable under law.
6. Do not touch or tamper with Holy Lingam and / or place or throw anything on the Holy Lingam. Do not use flash cameras inside Cave. Do not light incense sticks (agarbatties) or Dhoop inside cave.
7. Do not pay more than the prices fixed for porters, ponies, dandies, rations, fire wood, accommodation etc.
8. Do not pay more for Helicopter service than the rates displayed.
9.         Don’t stay overnight at Holy cave due to low oxygen.


How to reach
By Air
Srinagar, the nearest aerodrome, has world famous sights to see, such as Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, Shankaracharya Temple and Mughal gardens like Shalimar, Nishat and Cheshma-shahi.  Known as “Paradise on earth” and being the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, the city is well connected by air and road. There are daily flights to Srinagar from Delhi and Jammu. On certain weekdays flights also pickup passengers from Chandigarh and Leh.

By Rail
Jammu is the nearest Railway Station. Jammu is the winter Capital of Jammu & Kashmir. Also known as “CITY OF TEMPLES“, one may visit old temples such as Raghunath Temple, Mahadev Mandir and other temples. Railway station is very well connected and there are lots of express trains to various towns in India.

By Road
Jammu and Srinagar are also connected through road. Buses and Taxies are available for this part of the journey. These can be hired on daily as well as on full tour basis.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter

Amarnath Yatra is staring from 29th June 2011 till 31st August 2011.

Since the date of  the announcement of the Yatra dates, many tour operators have come up with attractive packages for Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter. As last year, this year also the Helicopter is flying till Panchtarni. One can take the Helicopter either from Baltal - Panhtarni - Baltal or Pahalgam - Panchtarni - Pahalgam. There is a trek of 5Kms from Panchtarni to Holy Amarnath Cave.

If you are taking a Helicopter package for Amarnath Yatra via Baltal, please make sure that the tour operator is providing you the accommodation in Sonmarg which is just 15 Kms from Baltal. In Baltal there is no Hotel or Restautant available. The tour operator might let you stay in a tent at Baltal & that could be a horrible experience. Although there are no luxury accomodation available in Sonmarg still there some decent hotels where you can stay for Overnight.



If Budget is not a concern, It is always recommended to take a Helicopter from Pahalgam because of 3 reasons:-

1. As Pahalgam is a tourist place, there are variety of accommodation available from Budget to Luxury.
2. There is a strong possibility that you might not come back to Srinagar/Sonmarg on the same day if you go via Baltal. Some Yatris even after coming back from Panchtarni to Baltal got stuck because the road from Batal towards Sonmarg/Srinagar is not operational after 6PM due to security reasons.
3. There is a Mobile signal Problem in Baltal.

Therefore it is more safe & recommended to go for Amarnath Yatra via Pahalgam than Baltal. Also, always take a minimum 3Nights/4Days package tour as there is a possibility that you might not be able to do dasrhan in 2 days due to bad weather or any other reaosns.

For the Amarnath Packages & Itineraries, please visit http://www.holyamarnathyatra.com/

Amarnath Yatra by Trek

Amarnath Yatra, the most sacred yatra of Hindu Pilgrimage is starting from 29th June 2011 till 13th August 2011. As of now, more than 2 Lakh yatris have lready registered for the Yatra throughout the Country.

There are two routes to reach Holy Amarnath Cave i.e. via Pahalgam & via Sonmarg.

The traditonal route is via Pahalgam which is located 95 Kms from Srinagar.

PAHALGAM - SHESHNAGH - PANCHTARNI - HOLY AMARNATH CAVE - PANCHTARNI - BALTAL

Once a Yatri reaches Pahalgam, He/She can take a taxi or bus to reach Chandanwari which is located 16Kms from Pahalgam. The Yatri begins Trek from Chandanwari towards Sheshnagh enroute visiting Pissu Top & Nagakoti. Sheshnag, located 12 Kms from Pahalgam is a mountain which derives its name from its Seven Peaks, resembling the heads of the mythical snake. There are no Hotels available at Sheshnagh. The Yatri has to stay at a Tents/Camps for Overnights Stay.  There are many Langars that offer food to the Yatris.












Next day yatri has to climb steep across Mahagunas Pass at 4276 mtrs.(14000 ft) for 4.6 Km and then descend to the meadow lands of Panjtarni at a height of 3657 mtrs (12000 ft). On the way to The Holy Cave, one comes across the Sangam of Amravati and Panjtarni rivers. Some pilgrims take bath at Amravati near the Holy Cave before going for Darshan. There are two smaller Shivlings one of Maa Parvati and other of Shri Ganesh. It may be noted that after having early Darshan of the Shiv Linga at Holy Cave, one can return to Panjtarni well in time the same day.