Char Dham Yatra, Holiest Pilgrimage in Himalayas

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Char Dham Yatra is the holiest of journey for Hindus  in Uttarakhand  Himalayas, this pilgrimage starts with the opening of the doors (Kapat) of four temples,  are closed during the winters due to heavy snow , normally opening of doors is announced on Shivaratri.  This year 2016  journey starts from 8th May with opening of Kapats (Doors) 09 May Sri Yamunotri, Sri Gangotri 09 May, Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath on 11May.

The Starting point Yamunotri
The journey starts from Rishikesh full day road journey passing through Dharsu, Sayanachatti and Barkot, entire route is full of beautiful view of snow capped Banderpunch Range, Pine forests and water falls, pilgrims stay at  Hanuman Chatti or Barkot, where most of the hotels, guest houses and dharamshalas are situated, it is also confluence of river Hanuman Ganga and river Yamuna . Next day one is to cover 6 Kms by Jeeps/SUVs up to Janki Chatti , there are guest houses with basic facilities at Janki Chatti the trek 6 Kms . to the Yamunotri Temple starts from here it is on the left bank of the river, a  hot water spring is near the temple the Surya Kund” ,  pilgrims tie potatoes and rice in cloth  dip in boiling hot water of Surya Kund , so cooked rice is taken as prasad back home, pilgrims take bath at  “Gauri Kund  which has hot water suitable for bathing. Prayers are offered first at the Divya Shila a Black stone slab   then in the Temple. The actual source of river  is further ahead 1 Km at  Champasar Glacier on Kalind Mountain, it is very difficult to reach there, people offer the prayers at the temple situated at the foot hill . Pilgrims return  same day and take rest for the next day onward journey to the Gangotri.

The next stop Gangotri

To reach Gangotri we have to returned to Dharsu and then drive to Uttarkashi to reach Harsil a 250 Kms drive, it is a small town famous for its natural beauty, apple orchards, trekking routes to lakes and undiscovered stretches of grassy meadows. One can reach Gangotri by road from here distance 23 Kms passing through pine forests ,  transport is available till the Temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga, on the banks of River Bhagirathi, the glacier mouth is further ahead 18 kms trek, towards Gaumukh, The Ganges is known as Bhagirathi here, it unites with Alaknanda at Devprayag to form Ganges. Temple is at a very picturesque location amidst high mountains , towards east is the Gaumukh Glacier. It is here  the  Bhagirath shila where King Bhagirath performed the tapasya to bring Ganga from the heavens to earth, water is ice cold here , it is difficult to stay in water for even half a minute. This place is at a height of 3142 meters . Those who want to trek to Gaumukh can spend two more days, which needs clearance from the local authorities, the trek passes through Chirwasa and Bhojwasa, Gaumukh is one of the Largest Glacier in the World, on the way one can find the Ibexes(Snow Goat) grazing on high mountains, the opening of glacier to from where it releases water to form Bhagirathi is a shape of Cows mouth that is why it is called Gaumukh. From here one can have a panoramic view of mountains, Shivaling (6540 meters), Meru (6660 meters) and Bhagirathi (6500 meters).

Ma Gangotri Temple

Sri Kedarnath – Lord Shiva’s Abode

Next place in Chardham Yatra is Sri Kedarnath,  Harsil to Uttarkashi is 69 Kms, then to Guptkashi is 230 kms, Total journey time is about 10 hrs. Passing through Srinagar, Uttarakhand, This route is followed by River Mandakini. Hotels, camps and guest houses at Guptkashi are available at a very reasonable price. Morning starts by a travel upto Gauri Kund , a motor able road or to Phata from where Helicopter Service is available to Kedarnath. Gauri Kund the starting point of Kedarnath trek is a hot water spring, here the Goddess Parvathi lived and performed sadhna to please Lord Shiva to finally got married to him. It is also the place where Lord Ganesha acquired the elephant head. 15 kms trek from here is very tough and takes about 4-5 hours.  Rambara . From Rambara the Yatris cross the River Mandakini to reach Limchuli and then to Kedarnath temple . It is at the height of 3585 meters situated near the head of river Mandakini, surrounded by snow capped mountains, it’s name is derived from the King Kedar in the Satya Yuga, his daughter Vrinda who is also an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, this temple existed in the Mahabharata period, when Pandavas performed tapasya (prayers) to please Lord Shiva. It was here the Adi Shankaracharya took samadhi at the age of 32 years,  soon after establishing the four sacred dhams, it is considered a must visit place, there is a small hot water spring which gives relief to the pilgrims from the tiredness of hard journey, there are dharamsalas, camps and small guest houses, the temple opens at 6 o’clock in the morning and closes in the evening, Kedarnath is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlings, it is built of massive stone slabs over a rectangular platform, here Lord Shiva who was evading the Pandavas hide himself as a bull, on being followed, he dived in the ground leaving behind the hump, the conical rock inside the temple is worshiped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form, outside the temple there is a large statue of Nandi Bull as a guard. After the floods of year 2013 a big boulder named as Divya Shila is also worshiped as it saved the temple by obstructing the flow of flood water to cause any damage to the temple.

One has to be careful while staying at night here because of low oxygen concentration at this altitude. Pilgrims are advised not to exert themselves too much and breathe normal. 
Staying overnight and performing poojas in the morning one returns to Gauri Kund and drive to Joshimath, there are two routes, one is which normally pilgrims take is driving through Rudrapryag, second is through Chopta which is the most beautiful, passing through dense forests of Mandal and Gopeshwar, from Chopta one can take a trek to Tungnath, it is Lord Shiva’s temple situated at about 4 kms trek from Chopta. Drive to Joshimath is about 7 hrs. It is better to stay night in Joshimath and take a morning drive to Sri Badrinath  a 44 kms distance is very rough  and takes about 4 hrs drive , on the way is Gobind Ghat from where trek for The Hemkund Sahib, Laxman Temple and Valley of Flowers starts.

Sri Kedarnath Temple Aug 2015

Sri Badrinath The Lord Vishnu Dham

Shri Badrinath Dham is the temple dedicated to lord Vishnu’s dual form Nara-Naryana, the temple is 15 meters tall with top covered with gold gilt roof, it is built of stone with arched windows, the main entrance is a arched gate, inside is mandapa a large pillared hall leading to the Garbha Griha. It is surrounded by Nara-Narayan peaks and in the backdrop is the Neelkanth peak. Legends says that to reduce the impact of Ganga on earth it was split into twelve rivers and one of them is river Alaknanda, the other legend is that the Pandavas passed through Badridham and to Mana village to ended their life by climbing the heights of peak Swargarohini, there is a cave near the village Mana where the Vyas Rishi complied  the Mahabharata. Before entering the temple, pilgrims must take bath in hot water spring at the Tapta Kund and Surya Kund fed by thermal sulphar springs, the boiling hot water falls into ice cold water of Alaknanda creates the steam over the water surface. North of the temple is a Bharama Kapal where Lord Bharama is said to reside, here the last rites of departed souls are performed. There are lots of other places around like foot prints of Lord Narayana on rock is about 3 kms called Charan Paduka, over a kilometer  on the other side of river is Shesh Netra, the eye of Shesh Nag on which the Lord Vishnu rests is seen on a rock, about 8 km. is the source of Alaknanda the Bhagirath Kharak and Satopantha Glaciers this place is called Alka Puri. One can return same day to Joshimath or stay one night to visit all these places. Sri Badri Dham is also referred as Badri Vishal thus giving the supreme status among the all Dhams.

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple

Returning Home

One may stay a full day at Joshimath , take an excursion to Auli which is at the height of 3050 meters, there are Taxis available to reach a famous winter sports destination for Skiing, there is a rare medicinal plants nursery and little above one can trek to Gorson, Tali, Kauri Pass, Khulara and Tapovan. One can have a panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range of Nanda Devi (7818 meters), Mana (7272 meters), Kamet (7728 meters), Mount Neelkanth, Mount Chaukhamba (6874 meters), Mount Hathi Ghora Palki. One can also visit Vishnu Pryag, the confluence of River Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga from Joshimath .

Return journey starts from Joshimath passing through Rudraprayag and Srinagar, Dev Prayag  and reaching Rishikesh/Hardwar  a 250/275 km. journey for a night stay, participating at Aarti at Ganga Ghats and to leave for home next day.

For More information and packages Contact +91 9810506646

Callers from outside India + 44 7700093414

Office contact 011 – 45725562, 45725563, 45725563

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

Website : promarktravels.com , yatrachardham.com

Blog : promarktravels.com/blog

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek

Hemkund Sahib

Hem Kund or Hemkunt is one of the holiest Sikh pilgrim place in Uttrakhand, it has a mention in the Bachitter Natak authored by the Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh Ji that he meditated in his previous birth at a lake of ice  surrounded by Sapt Spring mountains and where the King Pandu ancestor of Pandavas of Mahabharata ,  practiced yoga.

Until nineteenth century the geographical location of this place was not known, it was the efforts of Pandit Tara Singh Narottam, Sikh scholar Bhai Vir Singh, Sohan Singh, a retired Granthi and soldier Havildar Modan Singh from Indian Army, located this place and laid foundation of this pilgrimage site, at a height of 15,200 feet , it  opens during the summers from May till September, rest of the year it is covered under the snow and becomes inaccessible.

Lokpal Lake

Lokpal Lake

 

Starting point to this pilgrimage is Hardiwar/Rishikesh about 275 km drive to Gobind Ghat, it is advised to stay at Joshimath where there are good hotels, camps and rest houses which are easily available, next morning travel by bus or car 22 km up to Gobind Ghat situated at the confluence of River Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga, a gurudwara is situated at the right bank of Laxman Ganga,  a small market with restaurants, guest houses, shops for trekking equipment, one can get porters and mules,  vehicles can be parked here  till their return from the trek, there is a helipad and  Helicopter service is also available up to Ghangharia.

First stop on this trek is Ghangaria also known as Gobind Dham it is 13 km rocky path and unclear road, a base camp for two treks at a height of 3050 meters, one trek leads to Hemkunt Sahib and the other leads to Valley of Flowers. There are no arrangements for overnight stay at Hemkunt Sahib therefore pilgrims have to leave early to return the same day, there are open ground tents with mattresses, gurdwara, guest houses and dhabas(small restaurants) to take care of basic needs, it is here the river Pushpavati coming from Valley of Flowers and Laxman Ganga from Hemkund Lake meets. Pilgrims leave early morning on a 6 kms rocky trek which takes about 5-6 hours crossing the glacier to reach the Hemkund Lake, it is also known as Lokpal lake, there is a, Lord Ram‘s younger brother’s, Laxman temple on the banks of lake, it is believed that after the battle with Meghnad when Laxman got wounded, came here to take rest and regain his health.

Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib and Lokpal Temple

A star shaped Gurudwara which is designed and  constructed under the supervision of Major General Harkirat Singh and Architect Siali from 1960AD onwards. Situated at the height of 4240 meters on the banks of lake surrounded by seven snow capped mountains. One has to return to Ghangaria as there are no arrangements for night stay at Hemkund Sahib .

The Valley of Flowers

Next day one can take a trek to Valley of Flowers which is 3 km from Ghangaria after crossing the bridge over River Pushpawati, which takes about 2-3 hrs, no mules are allowed, at check post one is to make entry in register and a nominal fee is charged, one can feel the exotic scent in the atmosphere from here as trek to Hemkund is full of smell of Mules dung, this valley is 5 km. long, it was known as Bhyunder Valley, In 1931 mountaineer Mr. Frank S. Smithe, lost his way after successful expedition of Kamet, by chance reached here, he was so impressed he authored a book “The Valley of Flowers” and wrote about the beauty and flora, thus giving its present name,  until then this valley was not on a tourist map, legend has it, that Lord Hanuman came in search of Sanjivani Buti (herb) after Laxman got injured in battle with Meghnaad. This valley has mostly the orchids, poppy, marigold, daisies and anemone looking like a carpet on the ground and many medicinal plants, besides flowers there is a variety of wild life and commonly found animals are Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Red Fox, Langur, Himalayan Black Bear and Brown Bear over 100 types of Butterflies are found here, among the birds are Snow Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Himalayan Golden Eagle, Snow PigeonGriffin Vulture, Sparrow Hawk etc. there are no tall plants, everywhere there is some grass, berries, shrubs, flowers, what to see and what to leave one gets so exited about the beauty. Rain is quite unpredictable and one is not allowed to stay in the valley at night and just one day is not sufficient if one is really interested in plants will like to come again and again.

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers

 

Flowers in Wild

Flowers in Wild

 The return journey starts from Ghangaria/Gobind Dham to Gobind Ghat and then to Joshimath, one can stay for one day to explore the Ski slopes of Auli and views of Himalayan mountains or trek to lakes and meadows above Auli .

For more information and trek arrangements contact +91 9810506646

Office Contact 011 45725562, 45725563, 45725564

Callers from Outside India contact +44 7700093414

Website : http://promarktravels.com

Email: promark@promarktravels.com

Blog: promarktravels.com/blog

 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput is well known in the travel trade since 1980. Worked in India and abroad. A boxer, Rifle Shooter and Para Jumper. As a Boy Scout and NCC Cadet, attended Adventure camps, trek in Himalayas which developed  interest in traveling and to explore new places, loves driving to adventurous places and photography. (promarktravels.com)  Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

Yatra Chardham year 2015 for Senior Citizens

 Yatra Chardham for the year 2015 starts from 20 April , Kapats ( Doors) opens Sri Yamunotri and Sri Gangotri 21 April , Sri Kedarnath 23 April and Sri Badrinath 26 April

The Yatra Chardham which is the devout wish of an any Sanatan Hindu , Shivaite or Vishnuite is done in the Gharwal region of Uttrakhand state of North India, since 1980 we are making the travel arrangements for pilgrims in this area, I have seen the Senior Citizens accompanying their families and trying to keep a pace with the youngsters to make their pilgrimage to these holy places, not knowing about the difficulties, unpredictable weather and the high altitude sickness because of thin air and less oxygen,  in travel and quite often it is the high emotional feeling of doing it by foot as a devotional duty towards the God.

Puja at Hardwar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entire journey which is performed by the people from all over India gathers at Haridwar or Rishikesh starts the 12 -14 days journey within the Himalayas with almost every day travelling around 200-250 kms. on single road which are prone to land slides, falling rocks, heavy rains or may be simply the heavy traffic in both directions on road and once we reach the destination may be one is to wait in a queue to have a pooja or just a darshan of few minutes,  choice of food is the major problem, fresh vegetables and milk are rare, one is to compromise on whatever is available and most important the good comfortable place where one can have full rest at night and facilities of daily use.

 

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple at night

Quite often, Senior Citizens are unable to travel because someone from their family is not accompanying them, the entire  journey is comfortable and our experienced representative is with the Seniors, hiring of a vehicle with good ground clearance and comfortable seats, there are breaks in the journey at places where there are good facilities and good refreshments available, a prior information about the medical needs of person travelling, contacts of medical facilities available on the route which may be helpful in case of any emergencies. Food served on this route is vegetarian, the accommodations is on ground floor with hot water in the bathrooms, beds are soft and warm, places are at high altitude, heaters and fire in the rooms are not allowed, providing guests with hot water bottles to keep the body warm in the bed. Accommodations are selected close to the  roads .

Palki being carried by the porters at Yamunotri

At Yamunotri, arrangements of Palki, it is carried by four porters, Phata to Kedarnath is by helicopter and if desired the distance from helipad to the main shrine is arranged by a porter carrying a person in a basket chair, Gangotri and Badrinath are at comfortable walking distance, at all shrines arrangement of  priority darshan.

Good warm clotheswoolen sockswoolen cap and gloves are must, before going to the pilgrimage. Good water-proof shoes should be worn and one must use them at least 15 days before starting the journey,  sandals  and slippers should not be used for walking (Trekking) , wind cheater or rain coat is always recommended, one must drink a lot of water because most of pilgrims fall ill due to dehydration and Cold .

Sri Gangotri Temple

There are many places on the way worth visiting , Kharsali ( Lord Shani Temple), Harsil ( Mahaprayag of Nine rivers with Bhagirathi) Rudraprayag ( Maharishi Narad learnt to play Rudra Veena from from Lord Shiva ), Pandukeshwar ( Pandva brothers were born here) and many more places on the way.

For more Information and Packages   09810506646 

Office Contact 011 45725562, 63, 64

Callers from outside India +44 7700093414

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

 Website : yatrachardham.com

 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director at Promark Travel, is in the travel trade since 1980. For more Info Do Visit (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

Shani Dev, Yamuna Temple at Kharsali, Uttarakhand

The beginning point of Chardham Yatra is Yamunotri which lies at an 3293 meters from the sea level, there is a good road till Barkot and then up to Janki Chatti, from here one goes for 6 km uphill difficult trek to Yamunotri, this temple is closed during the winters and the main idol of Maa Yamuna or Yamunotri is kept at Lord Shani Dev temple at Kharsali  which lies at 2675 metres from the sea level , till the winter ends. This place  is also known as Khushimath  is one kilometer from Janki Chatti across the River Yamuna.

Shani Dev Temple at Someshwar

 The History and Story

Yamuna, The daughter of the Sun God (Surya) and consciousness Chhaya (the Shadow) she has one sister Sangya, brother Shani Dev, Yamraj and Gangotri are also called her cousin and sister. Every year in the first week of May on “Akshya Tritiya”, Lord Shani Dev accompanies his sister Yamuna to Yamunotri and returns back to Kharsali and again meets to bring her back on the “Bhai Dooj” or “Yam Dwetiya” two days after dipawali it is also a day for Yamuna to meet her brother Yamraj.

 Architecture

Who built this temple here at Kharsali, an inscription on stone on its wall could not be translated till now, locals believe it is constructed by the Pandavas, looks more like fort, it is a stone and wooden four story structure. The main structure is constructed in a way by using stones, wood the Urad dal or Vigna mungo (botanical name Lens culinaris) is used as a part of mortar to fix the stones together. It has faced the mighty earthquakes and floods with no damage to the building since immortal time. One can climb up through a narrow stairs, the main Bronze idol of Lord Shani Dev is kept here along with the Chaaya (the Shadow), the Sangya (the conciseness) and the Nag Devta, there are two urns one big and one small are  kept and no one touches them because of any unforeseen danger to self or family, there is a belief that these Urns change their position themselves on Purnima (Full moon night) and Amawasya (Dark night) the Yamuna Idol is kept during the winters on the first floor.

The Wall Supports of the Temple

 Importance

The importance of this temple is that it is the oldest temple of Lord Shani Dev, he particularly treats the people bad who are habitual betrayals, Back stabbers or into unjust revenges in other words Lord Shani punishes the guilty ones, he is a trouble maker for bad but rewards the good people, any one affected with Shani Sadsati and Shani Dhaiya, if performs pooja here the bad effect of Sadsati and Dhaiya is reduced, anyone if having a fear of Black Magic takes blessings from here is never attacked by its ill effects. Lord Shani Dev rides on a black vulture, carrying arrow, sword and two daggers, always wears black cloths, he has a limp in his one leg.

This photograph of the footbridge across the Yamuna River between Jānkīchaṭṭī and Kharsali was taken from the Jānkīchaṭṭī side of the river

Footbridge to Harsil across the Yamuna at Jankichatti

 Religious Beliefs & Practices

During the months of July, August (Sawan and Bhadon) a date is announced by the priest when a Pandava Nritya (dance) is performed by the special people in the courtyard to please the Nag Devta (Snake God), this dance starts after midnight witnessed by the locals from the surrounding  villages, it is believed that any one who performs fast on this day and recites the Mahamritunjay Mantra is protected from having unnatural death, this place is also believed to be place where the Nag Devta shows his presence once a year .

Significance of this temple is that after having darshan and pooja at Yamunotri one must pay a respectful visit at this place to make the darshan as complete. One can have a beautiful panaromic view of river Yamuna, Janki Chatti and the snow capped Himalyan Mountain Range.

 For more information and packages +91 9810506646

Office Contact 011 – 45725562, 63, 64

Callers from outside India + 44 7700093414

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

Website : yatrachardham.com

Blog : promarktravels.com/blog

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director at Promark Travel, is in the Travel Industry since 1980. He travels to write articles and blogs frequently. For more Info Do Visit (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

How Hotels Fill All Unsold Rooms

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Buying Hotel Rooms from your Travel Agent may save you over 50%

Hotels makes sizable investments to offer high quality services, accommodation, and cuisines. To recover these huge construction and operational costs, they avoid having vacant rooms any time in the year. They turn to their trusted agency partners to market all “excess” inventory at heavy discounts. Hotels do not offer these discounts themselves, consistently maintaining their “published” rates and selling full-rate packages to customers who buy directly from these hotels. Partners, on the other hand, act as a separate discount channel for the more travel-savvy and price-sensitive customers. Due to the recent slowdown in travel caused by the recession, there is significant overcapacity in the industry.

Your Travel Agent will most likely be able to offer you fantastic deals that are not advertised directly in newspapers, TV ads or other media, or made available to direct buying customers to protect the full-fare business of the hotels and their traditional travel agencies. Tailored packages also save you money. Hotel rooms are sold as a package with breakfast and or main meals (lunch, dinner). It can make a significant difference in the total cost to the customer to have a room with meals or not. Prices also vary with other standard inclusions, use of health club, swimming pool, and other recreational facilities that are clubbed with your room and hike up your price. Your travel agent can help you buy what you really need. Availing the airport pickup and drop too can save a lot of money. Keep checking with your agent for the best deals available . 

Some Travel Agencies bulk-buy rooms well in advance from the hotels. As they come closer to the occupancy dates, agents need to fill the rooms and can sell at up to 80% less than the regular price. So, please keep on checking with your trusted agents and you may be pleasantly surprised at the good deals you may get!

Travel Agent is also your Travel Consultant who provides you with all the information about the destination , transport rates and places one can visit and what one may add to get the best out of your money .

The recent trend to buy online is having its own limitation of doing your own research and get the things what you want but what one get along with it only a Travel Consultant can adviceMoney saved is money earned

 

For more information and packages contact + 91 9810506646

Callers from Outside India + 44 7700093414

Email : promark@promarktravels.com 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director at Promark Travel, is in the travel trade since 1980. For more Info Do Visit (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

Shiv Khori near Katra, Jammu & Kashmir Pilgrimage

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Shiv Khori is situated in Jammu & Kashmir state and one can combine it with Mata Vaisno Devi Pilgrimage, it is located about 80 Kms from Katra, 140 kms from Jammu and 120 kms from Udhampur upto Ransoo village and then 3 Kms trek to the holy cave. Regular buses and taxis are available at rates approved by the J&K Tourism Department, from Katra, Jammu and Udhampur. Pilgrims may also travel from Jammu on Akhnoor-Bhambla Road, Ransoo is 6 kms from Kanda More (turn) on Reasi- Rajouri Road.

The Starting Point of Shiv Khori Pilgrimage Trek
The Starting Point of Shiv Khori Pilgrimage Trek

The Cave

This cave which was discovered about 100 years ago by the local shepherds is more than a kilometer long but pilgrims are allowed upto 150 meters, it has two chambers, outer chamber is little large and after crossing a narrow and low passage, one enters the inner chamber which is comparably smaller, the cave is illuminated and pilgrims take help of ropes to walk and even at places one has to crawl to move ahead in the chamber, there  is four feet tall natural Syambhu Shiva Lingam which bathes in a milky water dripping from the ceiling of the cave,  just above the Lingam is a structure which gives impression of Kamdhenu Cow, one can even recognize the structure near the Lingam Goddess Parvati, the other deities are Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeyen, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita even one can recognize Sheshnag here, in the center there is a hollow structure giving impression of Lord Shiva’s Jattas, all these are sourrounded by self made Shaligrams in the cave, pilgrims call it a Home of GODS, it is a miracle.

The Shiv Khori Cave
[quote]The Shiv Khori Cave[/quote]

The View from the Outside, Shiv Khori Cave
The View from the Outside, Shiv Khori Cave

Legend

The demon Bhasmasur meditated and pleased Lord Shiva,  received the blessings that “If he put his hand palm on any ones head, that person will die“, to test this Bhasmasur wanted to put his palm on Lord Shiva’s head, and had a battle, Lord Shiva to save himself  threw his Trident ( Trishul) which created this cave, along with Devi Parvati and Nandi Bull entered , leaving behind Bhasmasur,  Lord Vishnu who visualized the ill designs came here, disguised as Apsra, lured Bhasmasur to dance to her steps, each step and move was so planed that finally Apsra (Lord Vishnu) made him to put his palm on his own head thus killing the Bhasmasur of his own powers, after this dance and killing, Lord Vishnu entered the cave along with other Devtas, it is said that 330 million Devtas are in this cave lying as Shaligrams and Pindis.

Around Shivkhori

Around Shivkhori one can visit the shrine, Dera Baba Banda Bahadur, the army commander of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji about 20 kms from here on the banks of River Chenab.

Nau Pindian, this is about 9 kms from Katra on same road to Reasi, there is a natural formation dedicated to the Nine incarnations (Avatars) of Maa Shakti in the form of Pindi.

Dhansar Baba, this place is about 10 kms from Katra , 17 kms before Reasi , off the main road trek for 1 km, it is a natural formation of Shiva Lingam and natural dropping of water on the lingam.

River Chenab and The Bridge over it near Reasi Village
[quote]River Chenab and The Bridge over it near Reasi Village[/quote]

Other Places

Siar Baba situated on the banks of River Chenab near Talwara about 6 kms from Reasi, famous for its beautiful waterfall.

Kalka mandir is just near the bus stand of Reasi.

Bhimgarh Fort, it is also known as Reasi Fort, originally constructed of clay but later it was reconstructed using stone, the main entry gate is having Rajasthani carvings, there is a statue of Goddess Maha Kali and Lord Hanuman Ji, there is a water pond and a temple in the fort and rooms. This fort though small in size was built by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1817 when he was the commander of Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh under the supervision of General Zoravar Singh who was responsible for driving the Chinese out of Ladakh.

For more details contact 09810506646 or email at  promark@promarktravels.com

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director Promark Travel , is in the travel trade since 1980, has worked in India and abroad. A boxer, a Rifle Shooter and a Para Jumper in his college days, as a Boy Scout and NCC cadet, attended camps at many places which developed his interest in traveling and to explore new places, trekking and photography, loves driving to adventurous places , owns a business (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
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Some Shots on The Way

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Yatra Chardham Year 2012

The Yatra Chardham starts every year upon the opening of doors after the melting of snow at all the four dhams the Yamunotri, Gangotri, Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath. The auspicious day falls on the Akshya Tritiya of Indian Calander the Vikram Samvat, The year 2069 of Vikaram Samvat for Yatra Chardham the Akshya Tritiya falls on 24th April 2012, the Yatra Chardham from Delhi will start from 22nd April 2012 with one night stay at Haridwar and next day reach the Dham and participate in the first pooja of the year of Yatra Chardham with the opening of doors at all the sacred shrines.

 

Sri Badrinath Temple

 

Sri Kedarnath Temple

 

Gangotri Temple

 

Yamunotri Temple

 

All these places are accessible by road from Rishikesh, the total of 12 days are required for this pilgrimage to visit all the places by road, one can do this pilgrimage in three days by chartering a helicopter from Dehradun or Delhi.

Promark Travel is in making the arrangements for Yatra Chardham by road and one of the best Helicopter Charter company in this area. Hotels, Guest Houses and Transport Arrangements  selected are the best, taking care of needs and requirements of Pilgrims in the high altitude of Himalayas.

 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director at Promark Travel, is in the travel trade since 1980. For more Info Do Visit (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

The Extraordinary Langar at Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar

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Bird's Eye View of The Harmandir Sahib

Harmander Saheb, if one keeps the religious fact aside, it is not easy job to serve a meal to thousands of people in a day and that too round-the-clock. Forty to fifty thousand people, on an average, have a meal at langar everyday at Harmandar Sahib. “On Sundays, festival days and Amasya, the number exceeds 1 lakh” says Jathedar Harpinder Singh, who is in charge of the langar.

Freedom of Food and the Golden Temple

It is the devotion and selfless service of the sewadars makes the job simple. There are 300 permanent sewadars who work at the langar. They knead dough, cook food, serve people and perform a number of other jobs. Also, there are a good number of volunteers, both men and women, who work in kitchen and langar hall. They also wash and wipe the utensils.

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The Golden Temple

The Preparation

The langar at Harmandar Sahib is prepared in two kitchens, which have 11 hot plates (tawi), several burners, machines for sieving and kneading dough and several other utensils. At one tawi, 15 people work at a time. It is a chain process – some make balls of dough, others roll rotis, a few put them on the tawi and rest cook and collect them. It is all done so meticulously that one is surprised to see that on one hot plate, in just two hours, over 20 kg of flour is used to make rotis.

The kitchen also has a roti-making machine, which was donated by a Lebanon-based devotee. The machine is, however, used only on days that are likely to witness huge crowds. The machine can make rotis of 20-kg flour in just half-an-hour. To get the flour, there are two machines in the basement of the langar hall and another that kneads one quintal of flour in just five minutes. It is this fine team of man and machine that makes it possible for the gurdwara to provide 24-hour langar on all days.

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Sewadars working in the Kitchen

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The Roti Making Machine

Resources

But, what about putting together the raw material? About 50-quintal wheat, 18-quintal daal, 14-quintal rice and seven quintal milk is the daily consumption in the langar kitchen. There are utensils that can store up to seven quintal of cooked daal and kheer at a time. Items needed in langar are bought in huge quantities from Delhi . The purchases mainly includes pulses, while other every-day requirements are met from the local market. A stock of all items is maintained for two months, “Desi Ghee comes from Verka Milk Plant in the city, the devotees also make donations for the langar. In a day, over eight quintals of sugar and seven quintals of dal is consumed .

“Besides dal-roti, kheer and karah prasad is prepared on alternate days. On an average, seven quintals of milk and an equal quantity of rice is needed to prepare kheer. On festive occasions, jalebis are also distributed. Every day over 100 gas cylinders are needed to fuel the kitchen. For making tea, 6 quintals of sugar and 20 kg of tea leaf are consumed,in the early morning meditation at the Harmandir Sahib. But, all this wouldn’t have been possible without the grace of Waheguru: “Loh langar tapde rahin” (may the hot plates of the langar remain ever in service) are the words that every devotee says in his prayers at the gurudwara.

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Langar Being Served

History

The practice of Guru ka langar was strengthened by the third Sikh Guru Amar Das Ji, langar or community kitchen was designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. In addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of langar also aimed to express the ethics of sharing and oneness of all humankind. Langar Being Served On the other hand, following the principle of division of labour, the sewadars in the hall make sure that sangat gets the complete meal, from pickle to rice and dal. The whole thing is highly organised – from arranging the material to cooking and then serving.

After eating, the utensils are collected in one part of the hall in huge bins from where they are taken away for washing and stack them for the next sitting of langar the clockwork efficiency with which the kitchen is organised and the fact that all the people manning the kitchen are volunteers who are inspired to undertake the heavy labour by their religious convictions.” IN THY SERVICE Around 3,000 people are served meals at a go. It wouldn’t be possible without sewadars, who look for no return except Waheguru’s blessings.

 

About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director at Promark Travel, is in the travel trade since 1980. His belief in all religions and humanity makes him a loved person by people of all religions and all ages.  For more Info Do Visit (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]