Kargil , Ladakh

Kargil lies on National Highway 1D which connects Srinagar to Leh , it is on the banks of Suru river , the name is from two words “Gar” means in local language “Any Where” and “Khil” means central place “where any one can stay”. Total population of Kagil 80% follows the Shia faith of  Islam and are inhabited in Kargil, Drass and lower Suru valley, Tibetan Bon Buddhist are mostly in Zanskar valley with small population in Shergol, Mulbek and Upper Suru valley.  There are about 4%  Hindus and Sikhs . Most of the people are of Burig and Balti of Tibetan origin mixed with Dard , Mon and Aryan people.

Kargil City view from Leh-Srinagar Highway

The Tibetan influence is seen in Kargil and Leh people , the Islam came here with Persian influence which has lots Persian words , phrases and even the religious songs in their language , the marriages are solemnize with common rituals of  Buddhist and Islam customs .

Mt. Nun & Mt. Kun from Suru valley trekkers hot spot

It was a transit point of caravans on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarken and Kashmir till 1949, but since 1974 with the influx of tourists the region has been replaced as center for tourism related activities. Tourists traveling between Zanskar, Leh and Srinagar stop for  a night stay , before proceeding for onward  journey.

People visit Kargil with the memories of 1999 India and Pakistan conflict as it lies very close to the line of control .

Bomb Shell splinters holes fired from Pakistan

The Suru river flows through Kargil , Suru valley extends till the Pensi-la where there is a famous peaks of Nun and Kun , Karaste kar is a small village on Leh highway where 9 meter tall rock carved statue of Maitriya Buddha attracts the tourists from far places . There are other magnificent Stupas and rock carved statues to be seen in Suru valley . Most of the trekkers take a hike to  the Nun- Kun view saddle (3810mtr. ) in the Parkachik ridge. It is a  3 hours of walking along the slopes  overlooking the fertile valley below.

Pakistani post was captured and pushed behind this peak

The road connection from Srinagar is open from May till November , rest of the year there is a heavy snow in the Zoji-la , this area is cut off by road in winters from rest of India , the Indian Air Force  operates few flights to help the local people to come in out of the valley. summers are warm with cold nights , Drass which is 56 km from Kargil is coldest inhabited place in India. The only  road link to Zanskar  is from Kargil .

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Office contact Delhi 011 45725562 , 45725563 , 45725564

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Harsil and The Maha Prayag at Bhagirathi River

Harsil is a small sleepy village and important Cantonment of Indian Army situated at a height of 8300 ft. on main road to Gangotri, 73 kms from Uttarkashi, it was once on the old caravan route of India to Tibet most of the people are of Bhutia origin and use Harsil as winter base, more importance is due to village Mukhwas where the statue of Goddess Ganga is brought and worshiped during the winters when Gangotri’s main temple is inacceseble due to snow, it is on the left banks of river Bhagirathi and the Mayank Shikhar. Importance of this place is due to less known fact  that it is a confluance of Seven rivers and a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, many Saints and Sanayasis preferred to meditate here

Harsil is a small sleepy village and important Cantonment of Indian Army situated at a height of 8300 ft. on main route to Gangotri, 73 kms from Uttarkashi, it was once on the old caravan route of India to Tibet most of the people are of Bhutia origin and use Harsil as winter base, more importance is due to village Mukhwas where the statue of Goddess Ganga is brought and worshiped during the winters when Gangotri’s main temple is inaccessible due to snow, it is on the left banks of river Bhagirathi and the Mayank Shikhar. Importance of this place is due to less known fact  that it is a confluence of Seven rivers and a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, many Saints and Sanayasis preferred to meditate here, Godess Ganga’s temlpe the Gangotri is further ahead 23 Kms. from here.

Deodar Forest in Harsil

 Deodar Forest in Harsil

 

Mayank Peak, Harsil

Mayank Peak, Harsil

The Story and History

According to the  Kedarkhand, a chapter in Skandha Puran, it was here Lord Shiva was helped by Lord Vishnu to kill the demon Jalandhar who was brother of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu’s wife, Demon Jalandhar’s wife Vrinda went into the deep forest and started praying to protect her husband but Lord Vishnu followed her and disguised himself as Jalandhar started living with Vrinda, when Vrinda recognized him she cursed Lord Vishnu that someone deceitfully abduct his wife in his next incarnation, she entered the pyre after this, Lord Vishnu was so obsessed with the beauty of Vrinda that he painted the ashes from the pyre and started roaming all over the Lokas, then his worried Devatas were guided by Godess Parvati with the assistance of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati, they gave some seeds to them and directed them to  spray those seeds on the ashes of  pyre, on which Vrinda had given up her life.

Three holy plants manifested from that pyre  Amla, Tulsi and Malti. Later on Tulsi and Malti attained to the  Vishnuloka, by the virtue of their respective penance. Later Tulsi became the wife of demon Shankhachuda, he wanted conquer the Indraloka which resulted in a war with lord Shiva who was finding it difficult in wining over him due to the Tapasya of Tulsi. On being instructed by goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu met Tulsi in the guise of her husband  Shankhachuda, so that the breach of Tulsi chastity could help lord Shiva to kill Shankhachuda, who derived his power from Tulsi’s chastity and virtuosity. When Tulsi recognized Vishnu she became very angry and cursed lord Vishnu to become a stone. She was crying inconsolably. Lord Vishnu contemplated on Shiva as a result of which he appeared. Lord Shiva blessed Tulsi that she would become the beloved of Lord Vishnu. Due to Tulsi’s curse, Lord Vishnu attained the form of Shaligram which is a stone and because of lord Shiva’s blessings. Tulsi leaves started being offered to the Shaligram in the process of its worship. Vishnu also known as Hari who is lying as stone (Shila), This place is called Harsil, this black Shaligram is visible in winters when there is less water in Bhagirathi because of snow.

Jalandhari is sister of goddess Lakshmi and demon Jalandhar, was on her way to meet her sister  Lakshmi and brother-in-law Vishnu, upon reaching here when she came to know about Visnu becoming Shaligram, she melted and met Lord Vishnu in form of a river who was lying in Bhagirathi.

There is a temple of Lord Vishnu on the banks of river Bhagirathi built by Raja Ram Brhamchari in the year 1921 AD (Shaka Samvat 1978), to the east is Lord Shiva’s temple and in the north is Maa Bhagvati’s temple, the rituals of puja are being performed since then by his family, at present Dr. Nagendra Ravat performing it for the last 35 years every day without fail it starts with a holy dip at Bhagirathi river and until puja is over which takes about 4-5 hrs. not a single word is uttered other than the mantras / shlokas until the first meal of the day is taken.

Lord Vishnu Temple at Harsil

Lord Vishnu Temple at Harsil

 

Lord Shiva Temple, Harsil

Lord Shiva Temple, Harsil

The Confluence of 10 Rivers

The Seven rivers are Tilangana, Jalandhari (demon Jalandhar’s sister), Vishnu Ganga or Kakora, Lakshmi Ganga, Him Ganga and Pawan Ganga pour their water in Bhagirathi at this place, little up stream 3 kms is a place called Dharali where Bhim Ganga, Kheer Ganga and Hatya Harini rivers join the Bhagirathi in all there are ten rivers which join and form Bhagirathi in this area hence it is called the Maha Prayag.

According to legend when one of the Pandva’s brother Bhim was bringing the Chaman Rishi to light the holy fire at Aswamegh Yagna on his way to quench the thirst of Rishi he hit his Mace (Gada) at a place from where the water came out, this stream is called Bhim Ganga, bathing in  the river Hatya Harini absolves the sins of killing some one by mistake or otherwise (Barham Hatya Dosh).

River Jalandhri at Harsil

River Jalandhri at Harsil

Around Harsil

Just below the Mukhwa Village is Maharishi Markandeya ashram who created the Maha Mritunjay Mantra it is here he created the Durga Saptashati, there are 700 shlokas (verses) in thirteen chapters, in the praise of Maa Durga and killing of demons, here there is a white temple of Maa Annapurna and Lord Shankar, 1 km ahead is Maa Durga’s temple.

Dense Deodar forest, apple orchards, Waulnut, Chestnut and Wild Flowers are in abundance in this area, Harsil is connected to Baspa Valley by Lamkhaga Pass which opens into Chitkul, Kinnaur of Himachal, one can have a views of peak Bander Punch 6316 mtr.  and peak Srikanth from Dharali village.

A View of Banderpunch Range from Harsil

A View of Banderpunch Range from Harsil

 

Maharishi Markandaey Ashram in White and banks of River Bhagirathi near Harsil

Maharishi Markandaey Ashram in White at banks of River Bhagirathi near Harsil

Harsil is well-connected by a road and there are regular helicopter landings during the months of May , June  Late September till mid October , land slides are common in monsoons otherwise one can reach here throughout the year.

For more information and packages contact + 91 9810506646

Office contact 011 – 45725562, 63, 64

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Website : promarktravels.com, yatrachardham.com

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Alchi Monastery , Ladakh

Alchi monastery is situated on a low land unlike the other monasteries which are constructed on  high lands or hilocks it is situated on a down stream 70 kms from Leh about 6 km from the main Leh Srinagar Highway on the banks of Indus river in the Alchi village at a height of 3100 meters from sea , it is one of the oldest well preserved dates back to about 1000 years, main attraction is thousands of minature paintings of lord Budha on a wall three large clay images of Budha in bright colours, past 500 years no religious activity has taken place here it is looked after by a monk from the Likir monastery.  The monasteries of this period did not belong to any of the established Tibetan schools, they were initially brought under the control of the Kadampa  Sect . When the condition of the monasteries deteriorated, they were mostly taken over by the Gelukpa Sect .

Wooden carvings at main entrance , Alchi monastry

Alchi is part of three villages the other two villages are Mangdu and Sumnda Chun . It was built between 958 AD – 1055AD by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo, assembly hall and the main temple is three storied are built in Kashmiri style, Manjushri is the third temple , there is a huge statue of lord Budha , walls of temple have the oldest preserved paintings of that time and reflects the Hindu and Budhist artistic and spritual details, there were 108 monasteries built in the trans Himalyan region to spread  Vajrayana Budhism from Tibet also known as Lamaism , Kashmiri artists were engaged to create sculptures and paintings .

Manjushri Temple, also called ‘Jampe Lhakhang‘, is built around the four central images of Manjushri (seated back to back) seen on a common platform each of the four images is single-headed with four arms that are adorned with a sword, a book on top of a lotus, a bow and an arrow. Each wall in the shrine is dedicated to a Buddha image. Manjushri is depicted on the main wall, seated on a lion throne; the side walls have images of Amitabha  on the right and Aksharabhya on the left. The images are set around the central image of Manjushri in a niche in the wall. Manjushri is adorned with jewellery (pearls and other moulded forms) and a crown made of a flower band. In the base of the throne on which the Manjushri image is deified, is a depiction of ‘Seven Jewels’ and ‘Eight Suspicious Symbols’ (flanked by lions) enclosed in a square frame that is distinctive. The top of the throne frame has Makara mountings.

Alchi Monasrty , Information display

This village is very fertile and it is all green with apricot trees on both side of road. This region had influence of Islam , Hinduism and Budhism because it falls on the route to Turkestan of China but its isolation helped the village and gompa to keep their cultural traditions safe from the outer influnces. The effect of Tibetian culture can be seen here , there are five shrines in the Choskor temple complex.

Green fertile land at Alchi Village

Alchi , ages old Chortens

These chortens are decorated gateways known locally as Kakani Chorten  are considered unique to Alchi with historical link to other monuments. More chortens were added between the 13th and 14th centuries. In the Alchi complex, there are also three other chortens, which have ancient paintings .

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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from Kathmandu for Indian nationals

Holy Mt. Kailash

Every year thousand of pilgrims from believers of  Sanatan Dharma Hinduism , Bon, Buddhism and Jains pay their respectful visit to Holy Mount  Kailash , Lake Mansarovar and Lake Rakshas Tal in Tibet region of China following thousands of years traditions of their faith.

According to Hinduism it is abode of Lord Shiva with his consort Maa ParvatiBon religion believe the sacred mountain to be the place where the founder of the their religion landed from the sky.  Tibetan Buddhists believe Kang Rinpoche ( Snow Mountain), is a natural mandala representing the Buddhist cosmology on the earth . It is called  Mt. Sumeru or Meru Parvat in Jainism , next to the Mt. is Ashtpada the site where the first Tirthankar Rishabhdev attained the Nirvana .

One must remember that it is one of the most difficult pilgrimage travel  where the trek ( Kora )starts from Darchen at a height of 15000 ft. and one is to climb up to 18600 ftDolma La  Pass where the oxygen is thin and it is very cold in the snow , one must get a through checkup and must get a Certificate from a family doctor about the body fitness to face the harsh weather. One must start physical exercises , yoga Pranayam breathing   exercises along with walking with good waterproof  boots at least two months before taking the pilgrimage as  two-three  nights yatris are to stay in tents, walk for the Circumbulation  (day 1 , 12 km and day 2, 21 km) the mules and Yaks are available if one want to take. This journey is strictly NOT for the people with Heart  and Breathing problems .

The Mount Kailash range is source of four rivers of Asia , Indus , Satluej , Karnali and Brahmaputra , the holy mount has the outer circumbulation ( Kora) of 52 km. Buddhist and Hindus travel Clockwise while the Bonpos do it counter clockwise , it takes three days to complete the Kora . It is surrounded by five Five Temples / Monasteries  , each is endowed with different legendary stories and decorated by distinctive sculptures, statues, murals, Thangkas and other Tibetan cultural objects  .One trek around Mt. Kailash and enjoy the grand views  of the valley and Mt. Kailash from all directions.

Trekking route Mt. Kailash

We have tied up with experts in Nepal and China to take care of the sacred Mt. Kailash – Mansarovar Yatra for the Indian nationals to travel from Kathmandu . We have been successfully organizing Yatra Chardham in Himalayas for the past 25 years along with high altitude  trekking in Ladakh ,  Sri Amarnath Ji and Everest Base camp trekking  in Nepal .

Our all pilgrimage tours are accompanied by not only the experts in the Himalaya  but also the Purohits  who help you perform the puja in the way as mentioned in our Vedic Texts. It is said that performing a puja at Mt. Kailash on a full moon day is the most auspicious , please select your dates accordingly .

All our packages are of 12 nights with arrival in Kathmandu and then  departure for yatra  by bus to Tibet the China region .

From the year 2013 Govt. of China is not allowing to travel by  Jeeps in Mansarovar and Kailash area .

We have fixed departures for the following dates , if there is group of 15 or more we can workout the suitable dates as per requirements.

Arrive Kathmandu       Return journey

30 JUN 2014                      12 JUL  2014

13 JUL 2014                       25 JUL 2014

27 JUL 2014                      08 AUG 2014

11 AUG 2014                     23 AUG 2014

29 AUG 2014                     10 SEP 2014

10 SEP 2014                       22 SEP 2014

For more details please contact  Mobile no. 09810506646

Callers from Overseas contact  +447700093414

Email: promark@promarktravels.com

Website : www.promarktravels.com

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2014

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra year 2014 the registration for the Yatra  is announced by the Ministry of External Affairs Govt. of India . The last years Yatris who were registered and  could not take the journey due to the Floods and roads blocks in the year 2013 are also eligible .

Holy Mt. Kailash & Lake Mansarovar

 

Govt. of India accepts and screen the applications and selects the yatris with a strict criteria of health and physical fitness as one is to trek across the Great Himalaya to enter into Tibet area of China with restricted number of yatris to travel in batches of 20-40 .

Still there are pilgrims who are unable to get into the list and also are not keen on taking up a journey of 20 days on foot in Himalayas.

We have tied up with experts in Nepal and China to take care of the sacred Mt. Kailash – Mansarovar Yatra for the Indian nationals to travel from Kathmandu . We have been successfully organizing Yatra Chardham in Himalayas for the past 25 years along with high altitude  trekking in Ladakh ,  Sri Amarnath Ji and Everest Base camp in Nepal .

One must remember that it is one of the most difficult pilgrimage travel where one is to climb up to 18600 ft. where the oxygen is thin and it is very cold in the snow , one must get a through checkup and must get a Certificate from a family doctor about the body fitness to face the harsh weather. One must start physical exercises , yoga Pranayam breathing   exercises along with walking with good waterproof  boots at least two months before taking the pilgrimage as  two-three  nights yatris are to stay in tents, walk for the Circumbulation  (day 1 , 12 km and day 2, 21 km) the mules and Yaks are available if one want to take. This journey is strictly NOT for the people with Heart  and Breathing problems .

Our all pilgrimage tours are accompanied by not only the experts in the Himalaya  but also the Purohits  who help you perform the puja in the way as mentioned in our Vedic Texts. It is said that performing a puja at Mt. Kailash on a full moon day is the most auspicious , please select your dates accordingly .

All our packages are of 12 nights with arrival / departure Kathmandu by bus and travel in the China region is also by bus , from the year 2013 Govt. of China is not allowing to travel by  Jeeps .

We have fixed departures for the following dates

Arrive Kathmandu       Return journey

 01 MAY 2014                    13 MAY 2014

15 MAY 2014                    27 MAY 2014

29 MAY 2014                   10 JUN 2014

14 JUN 2014                     26 JUN 2014

30 JUN 2014                    12 JUL  2014

13 JUL 2014                      25 JUL 2014

27 JUL 2014                     08 AUG 2014

11 AUG 2014                     23 AUG 2014

29 AUG 2014                     10 SEP 2014

10 SEP 2014                       22 SEP 2014

For more details please contact  Mobile no. 09810506646

Callers from Overseas contact  +447700093414

Email: promark@promarktravels.com

 

 

Zoji – la, Ladakh

Zoji – La is a high altitude pass  11575 ft from sea level on Indian National Highway NH-1D , connecting Kashmir valley from Sonmarg to Ladakh Valley , it is 9 km long the second highest pass on Srinagar – Leh highway always covered with snow it is closed in winters due to heavy snow fall.

Zoji-la , frozen river and Leh – Srinagar highway

The pass links a Valley of Kashmir with Ladakh. For many centenaries various trade routes took merchants to China, Tibet, and Central Asia. Renchen Shah of Leh moved into Kashmir via this pass and was the ruler of the territory in the 14th century. Mirza Haider Doughlat also marched on through this pass to raid Kashmir. The previous name of the pass was Shurji La, which stands for the mountain of Lord Shiva.

Rock called the India Gate , entrance to Kashmir valley Zoji-la

Zoji-la , at a height of 3,528 meters, which  is the lowest drivable pass on the Great Himalayan Mountain Range. It witnesses violent winds  because of the conical shape and severe snowfall. Over 60 risky landslide spots have been identified on this route. Every year the young enthusiast  motor cyclist from all over India cross this pass with a high adventure spirit to visit the Ladakh from Kashmir side.

Historically this pass till 1815 was in control of Amir of Afghanistan as Punjab Hill States, it came under Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Flag of a Sikh state , in 1846 after the Anglo-Sikh war the East India Company and Sikh Empire had a Treaty of  Lahore , as an indemnity the Sikh State could not pay then Rs.1.2 Million , the Dogra King  was allowed to take Kashmir by paying Rs. 750 Thousand to East India Company , Gulab Singh became the first Maharaja of a new state of Jamu & Kashmir. After the partition in 1947 India signed the accession document with Maharaja Hari Singh to be part of India.

It was here in 1947 when Pakistani army who had reached till Srinagar had a surprise to see the Indian army’s Battle Tanks and artillery guns , had to withdraw from this area , since then the Zojii-la pass is under the controls of  India .

For more details and packages contact +91-9810506646

Office contact  011  45725562 , 45725563 

Email: www.promark@promarktravels.com

Website: www.promarktravels.com

Blog: www.promarktravels.com/blog

EU Green Tax: Global Airlines Warn Of ‘Retaliatory Action’

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‘Retaliatory Action’

With European Union facing global flak over imposition of a green tax on all aircraft flying in its skies, world airlines’ body IATA has warned European airlines of “retaliatory action” by non-EU nations if a global solution was not arrived at soo

EU Green Tax: Global Airlines Warn Of 'Retaliatory Action'

“Time is not on our side. Airlines from Europe may face some retaliatory action. And some non-European airlines may have to choose whether to obey the law of their land or that of Europe ?- two more unintended consequences which should convince all states that the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) is the way forward,” IATA chief Tony Tyler said.

He called for a global solution through the ICAO, a UN-body, to break the impasse on Europe’s plans to “unilaterally” include global aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS).

India, Russia, the US, China and several other countries would meet in Moscow later this month to decide on whether to take retaliatory measures against the EU on its “unilateral” decision to impose carbon tax on air travel.

The EU imposed the tax from January, but about 30 countries, including India, Russia, China and the US, opposed the move, saying it was “inconsistent with the international legal regimes”.

In a speech to the European Aviation Club in Brussels yesterday, Tyler said the consequences of the “unilateral and extra-territorial approach go beyond market distortions to states seeing this as an attack on their sovereignty.”

“I am sensing a growing recognition that a global scheme developed through the ICAO would provide a superior solution both for managing aviation’s emissions and to resolving the political problems caused by extending the scheme beyond Europe’s borders,” the IATA Director General and CEO said, adding, “We will do all that we can to promote a pragmatic solution.”

Source: PTI