Posts for Treks Category

Munsiyari: The Little Kashmir

Treks, UttaraKhand - Shubham Varshney - March 10, 2019

Munsiyari

It was a bit more colder night, the temperature was around -1 degree Celsius. The clock was sticking quarter past 10 and I was in the Munsiyari. Munsiyari was wholly covered in the snow and that moonshine was making the whole scene unforgettable. It was like the Moon was in the pleasure of making that snow-covered small village, the second Kashmir of India.

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Uttarakhand’s Most Beautiful Part

Munsiyari

Munsiyari is a small village, situated at the base of the great Himalayan ranges, in the district of Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand. Not having more than 10,000 population, Munsiyari is 2200 meters above the sea level. Munsiyari name has a meaning and it is ‘a place with snow’. And believe me, this place is as beautiful as it sounds. Literally, this is the place where I would love to lose myself.

Munsiyari Home Stay
View From The Room

Don’t know how and in which matters, but I must tell you that I have a great connection with the Himalayan ranges. At first, I was studied in a college in Dehradun, a city or interim capital of Uttarakhand. This city was situated peacefully on the foothills of Himalayas, giving a charismatic view of Mussoorie. And nearly a year ago, I had Amarnath Yatra. One of those religious treks in India which are acquiring a greater part of Himalayas.

Charm

And now I recently ended-up exploring Munsiyari. A guy like me, nature lover and adventure enthusiast, this place is like a room full of toys, for a kid. And I literally was feeling very pleased by spending time in that province of Munsiyari.

How to Reach Munsiyari from Delhi

At the very starting of this year, I have read about this place in a blog post and it left me stoned. By the grace of the Lord, I got the chance to visit this place around Independence Day and with all spirit and enthusiasm, I have celebrated it very amazingly.

Munsiyari

I started my journey from Delhi. From there I took a bus to Haldwani, a city in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It took me to 8 hours in reaching Haldwani, and from there I took a cab (pre-booked) that took me to the Munsiyari. The whole journey was of 24 hours approx. 650 kilometers, time which is worth taking, if you want to see the realm of the Himalayan ranges.

You can reach Haldwani from other major cities, but to reach Munsiyari, you have to be in Haldwani (a distance of 300 kilometers). This part of the Uttarakhand known as the Kumaon region. Basically, Uttarakhand is divided into two parts Kumaon and Garhwal regions.

Places to visit in Munsiyari

Like the Rishikesh and Fatehpur Sikri, this small village is also having some handful of places. The places which make a mind more enthusiastic about traveling and living.

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As it said, I have spent this Independence Day in the middle of great Himalayan peaks, Panchachuli Peaks, Hansling, and other Johar Valley Peaks. So I started my day by hosting my country’s flag from the compound of this city.

Dana Dhar Ridge

Shubham Varshney

As this city was covered in snow from head to toe, I walked 3 kilometers to reach this ridge. From this place, the scenic view that Munsiyari provides is just way beyond beautiful. This just like the Switzerland of our India.

Gori Ganga River

To the extends of Johar Valley, Munsiyari is also blessed with a river, Gori Ganga, source Milam Glacier. This meadow part of this Pithoragarh District is sole capable enough to draw the attention of peace and spiritual lover. At this part, the soul gets directly connected to the mind and provides a great view of the inner self.

Khaliya Top

Munsiyari Way

It is a trek of 8 kilometers, not easy but worth having. And to be honest, I can’t be able to reach this place just because of the excessive amount of snow. A layer of 4 feet, could you believe that? It is said that this year breaks the record of the last 22 years. This 2019 is much colder than the last two decades. Anyways, just because of this place, I have to visit this place again in the future. PROMISE.

Madkot

Wow! Before visiting this place I had only heard about the place which having hot-springs. Yes, this place is having hot-springs. They say that these hot pools are for the tired ones and believe me they have given rest to every single part of my body.

Munsiyari for Adventurous Souls

Munsiyari winter sports destination

The name of this place is reaching at the top level in the winter sports destinations of India. Year by year this place is getting more and more travelers as well as tourists. Munsiyari sounds best for professional skiers, also it is best for the learners. And to my amazement, I have also tried skiing for the very first time in my life.

Trekking Routes

Munsiyari works as the gateway for the trekkers because it is the origin place for many glaciers like Milan, Ralam, Nanda Devi, Nanda Devi Base, and many more.

Milam Glacier

A trek of 60 kilometers starts from this small village of Uttarakhand. Skilled mountaineers take this place in their count and try to get all the best possibilities.

Namik Glacier

The Namik glacier trek is located on Kumaon Himalayas at an altitude of 3,600 meters. It is 40 km from Munsiyari and situated at the villages of Gogina and Namik. The glacier can be reached by trekking from Bala village on Thal-Munsiyari road near Birthi Fall. It is 129 km from Pithoragarh.

Let Me Tell You a Story

It was the evening time and as the said the whole arena was covered in the snow. The sun was just about to go below the horizon and the best part of that time was, the Panchachuli peaks were turned into orange color. And I think watching those snow-capped peaks turning to orange and then it originality was my one of the best moments, that I was stolen from the vibes.

Snow-capped

Everyone in the town was searching for the wooden pieces so that in the night they could give relief from that frozen winds. So did I. With some locals, I went on searching some dry wooden pieces and luckily we found three but they were half wet and half dry.

While returning from the woods, we were carrying lakdi (wood). But people standing nearby, watching us taking them, were continuously staring at us. Like, we were just carrying a ladki (girl). As if we were culprits and just about to make any sin. That moment was one that I will not forget ever.

Best Time to Visit Munsiyari

Summer (March to June)

Munsiyari is very rich in flora and fauna. In this time of the year, this place gets a moderate temperature (suitable for everything). The Sun warm, the cool breeze, and fiercely flowing of Gori Ganga, all these things make this season most awesome.

In this period of time, every trekking route opens up for the Mountaineers and trekkers. This is the time which allows trekkers to reach at the Nanda Devi Base via Munsiyari.

Monsoon (July to September)

This is the time which will tell you that what a meadow is? The lush green mountain peaks and trailing on them could be the time which is suitable best for inner peace.

In this season, various kinds of medicinal plants found. And they are used in making various kinds of medicine like Keeda Ghas, Cannabis, and many others.

Winter (October to February)

To experience India’s best snow-fall, Munsiyari is the picture-perfect place. Also, this is the season which is not good for trekkers but good for skiers. Munsiyari is one of the winter sports destinations.

If you love to watch falling snow or feeling it on the cheeks then this is the place for you and the best time in the winters in the last of January.

Munsiyari
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Amarnath Yatra Guide

Guide, My Trip, Treks - Shubham Varshney - December 21, 2018

Amarnath Yatra Guide

This is a full Amarnath Yatra Guide. In this post, I have covered all the pin-points that are useful from the perspective of this most revered pilgrimage. I have tried to cover many questions that are frequently asked by the holy lovers.

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As many of you know that I recently had the privilege of visiting Amarnath Cave at Amarnath Yatra 2018 and shared my experience of this glorious trek as the legend of Amarnath Temple. And after living the every moment of this holy trek, honestly, I am feeling more alive and focused.

Registration Process for Amarnath Yatra

The abode of Lord Shiva or the Amarnath Cave is situated about 13,500 feet above from the sea level in Southern-Kashmir Himalayas. And in today’s day and time, to reach that adoring cave became much easier (not that much easier). Border Security Force and National Security Guards made the task easier. So as the registration process transform itself.

Amarnath Yatra

Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, the caretaker and the whole-sole unity which makes the dream of many come true, has throne many easier ways. Like for the form you can simply go to this Application Form, to know about the submitting that form in the bank branches simple click on this. At the registration branch, Yatri has to submit a correctly filled application form and a Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC).

To apply for Yatra Permit, the applicant-Yatri will submit the following document.

  • Filled-in prescribed Application Form.
  • Prescribed CHC issued on or after the specified date by the medical institution.
  • Four Passport Size photographs and an Identity proof (later on the Yatra).

It is up to us that from which path we want to reach the holy cave. Either from Pahalgam or Baltal. The Pahalgam route is full of heavenly charms but 40 kilometers long and quite easier to trek down. And the Baltal route is of 14 Kilometers but dangerous one because it has very narrow trenches and very steep

Health Guidelines for Piligrimage of Amarnath Yatra

Amarnath Cave Yatra

It is the face that we could suffer from the high altitude sickness if we go above the 8000 feet. And in climbing to the cave, there are more chances of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Below are the various problems that could be rise on Amarnath Yatra.

  • High Altitude Cerebral Oedema – It is a very serious AMS and it occurs due to the swelling in the brain tissue. It is so dangerous that it can damage the brain. Symptoms of this disease are breathing problem, headache, fatigue, low eyesight, and paralyses.
  • High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema – Due to this problem one might be suffer from failure of respiratory system. And it is due to the amassing of fluid in the lungs. Symptoms are weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, chest tightness, congestion and increased heart rate.

What to do to avoid High Altitude Sickness

  • Provide enough time to your body so that you can save yourself more from the disease. It is highly recommended that first 48 hours of climbing should be slow.
  • Take such much as liquid substance as you can because at high altitude dehydration is a common process. So consume 4 liters of water, juice, watermelon and cucumber.
  • Eat food that contains carbohydrate in bulk because the food that contains carbohydrate helps us in fighting with AMS.
  • Do not take any medicine without the prior consent of Doctor, it may cause fatigue very badly.
  • Mountains are not the place to showcase skills, it is better if you climb mountain but respect them and never try to win it.
  • If you suffer from breathing problem, take a portable small oxygen cylinder that you can carry easily.
  • Please do not consume alcohol or any other liquid that contaminated with caffeine. Please do not smoke, and stay away from sleeping pills.

Amarnath Green Initiative

Amarnath Yatra
  • Use of plastic is strictly prohibited
  • Dump the plastic or any non-biodegradable thing at the proper place.
  • All the necessary measurement have been taken to fight with the garbage.
  • New sewage system has installed by the government.

Dos and Don’ts for a successful Amarnath Yatra

Do’s

  • Before a month of having Amarnath Yatra, start doing a simple workout. Have 4 kilometer walk in a day. It will be better if you do yoga.
  • As the trek covers the steep snow-covered mountains and you have to cover them in that freezing temp. Please take sufficient woolen clothes, rain jacket or poncho, trekking shoes, and a torch.
  • During the trek, you should have these things in your knapsack, enough water bottles, dry fruits, chocolates, and toffees.
  • Please take any of the authentic identity proof or the Yatra slip.
  • Please follow the instruction given by the Shree Amarnath Shrine board and pay attention to the updates which come very frequently.
  • This whole world is the part of the Lord Shiva, the mountains, the earth, and the air he loves them a lot. Please take care of them.

Don’ts

  • Do not stop at points which are under the sign of dangerous, follow the Army person advice.
  • Please Do not try to cover short-cuts or small routes, it may be a mole of the life.
  • Do not litter plastic en-route to Cave, the use of plastic is strictly prohibited and actionable offence.

Frequently Asked Questions (Amarnath Yatra Guide)

How can I go to Amarnath Yatra?

It that’s just simple that you visit to your nearest town. Just make it a will to have a view of the Linga. Fill up the registration form either by going to nearest bank branch of J & K or by online on the website of shrine board.

What is the cost of Amarnath Yatra?

The money you will need is only in the registration, reaching to Pahalgam or Baltal, and from returning to the home. The basic needs will be taken care of well by the Bhandaras. In the total of these, one must have 8000 INR (most probably).

How long is the Amarnath Yatra?

As I have discussed that there are two routes for Cave, one is from Pahalgam and the second is from Baltal. From Pahalgam, pilgrim have to cover 40 kilometers and from Baltal, it is of 14 kilometers.

How long does it take for Amarnath Yatra?

From Pahalgam, the Yatra will be of 5 to 6 days and from Baltal it can be covered in a day only.

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The Legend of Amarnath Temple

Religious, Treks - Shubham Varshney - August 9, 2018

Amarnath Temple

I found myself in the middle of the majestic Himalayan Peaks, some are having a shawl of snow covering their shoulders. It was an unusual day, unusual because that type of day comes once in a blue moon. This is the day on which I had a chance to get closer to Amarnath Temple (cave). The cave where the sole power of the world (for me) incarnate into an ice stalagmite.

The story of the Amarnath Temple is just very amazing and eminent. When I was a kid, my father brought a CD which was on the whole Yatra and had the reason that why this place got so much of reverence.

The Legend of Amarnath Temple

Baltal Valley

The legend has it that Lord Shiva (sole creator and destroyer of this World), lover of silence and meditation, chose this cave to tell his consort (Goddess Parvati) the secret of his immortality. The place got placed in his heart due to its fanatic presence. The place is covered with a sweet tone of silence and in that period of time, nobody could able to reach there.

 

Also, I have also heard that when Lord Shiva was narrating her the Amar (immortal) Katha (Story), she felt under a deep sleep and unwilling a pair of white pigeon, heard the whole story. From thence, they both are immortal and they came into a sight of luckiest one (I am not that one, till now).

The Day starts with its Magical Sprinkles

Baltal Valley

In my last post, Amarnath Yatra 2018, I have experienced my journey towards Baltal and I was all set to depart to feel the glory of that phallus for of my almighty. I was very excited and very keen to get that experience noted down on my life’s pages.

Baltal Market

That night (before the day on which my meeting was fixed with Lord Shiva) was the most peaceful night of my life. Outside our camps in Baltal Base Camp, I was clearly able to see the stars twinkling in a rhythm, making the night more meaningful. And the road which took seekers to the heaven, the road going straight towards Leh, was just up high on a gigantic mountain. As if the night was wanted to tell me that the whole universe was with me.

Shubham Varshney

It was the morning of 14th of July, for many it was a middle of the night because the clock was clinging to 3 AM. Everyone was getting ready because the Baltal access gates open at 5 in the morning and I was just struggling in assuming that the night which I lived some hour ago really happened in my life. I checked my phone and due to the Airtel postpaid connection, I was easily able to get in touch with loved once.

Ice trek

The temperature of the hall was 11° Celsius and for me, it was like it went under minus because I was filling that everything got frozen. On my phone, there were several missed calls and many messages from my friend. She just wanted to know that Is I am ok, that was her approach after a long period of time. I replied to her with a gentle smile “I am fine and heading towards my dream” and thanked my Lord for his inviting gift. And the thing that really made my day great that she replied at that very moment and we had a deep conversation.

Fourteen Kilometer Route to Amarnath Temple

Amarnath Ghaati

At 5 AM, me with my mates, standing in the queues at Baltal Access Gates. The daylight slowly getting a win over the darkness of the night, the name of the Lord was echoing in the Himalayan hills, Sindh River was flowing at her pace. From Baltal the distance of the cave is 14 kilometer and those who knew that they can’t be able to cover that by foot, took the advantages of ponies and horses.

Heaven

Just after passing the gates I graveled road came into in my sight and I was only able to see the enormous beauty of mountains. Most of the people don’t prefer this Baltal route because it is very steep and much dangerous. The whole fourteen-kilometer trek is a hair pinned dirt road, on one side there is a tall mountain and on another, a deep ditch. And that is for everyone, for ponies, for horses, and for pedestrians.

Sunrise at Amarnath

The whole arena was glittering in the love of that soul power, I was able to listen to the murmuring of wind. The sunlight showed its dance on the hills, as the Sun got up from the horizon. The period was of a very heavy rainfall but the universe conspired against the warrior of light and made my way free from rain. The moment was much like the one I had in Rishikesh and finds out some classic places to visit in Rishikesh.

Possibility to Fall in Love with Nature and Life

Water streams

In the whole trek, I took five halts, which was much necessary for the body. In the middle of the trek, there were many streams of waters flowing down from the mountains peaks. The water of those streams was honestly that powerful enough to cause hypothermia, even at the corners of those streams there were the frozen decks.

Amarnath Temple

That 14-kilometer trek was really my life changing trek. It introduces me to the death and taught me how to get rid of from the fear of death. Also, it strengthens my love and belief in Lord Shiva and took me to closer to him. That was really like a road to heaven. And I have covered it whole by my feet. Though at some points of time, I felt dead on my feet and when I reached under the kind shadow of Amarnath Temple the whole tiresome mixed with the wind and blown away.

road to cave

amarnath yatraThe very dangerous road, the changing climatic conditions, and those terror attacks were just transformed into great stories and they only became the myth for me. In five hours, I covered those 14 kilometers and those 485 steps to get entry into the cave. I have seen Lord Shiva sitting in front of me and smiled at me as if he was just waiting for me. The moment was really very fascinating, glorious, and full of lives.

Amarnath Cave

Shubham Varshney

As I have shared in my post Amarnath Yatra latest news, that this year the largest security belt was given to this annual pilgrimage and the Indian Army, Indian Government, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) made this pilgrimage safe and peaceful. A big thank to them.

 

 

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Explore Amarnath Yatra 2018 – Journey from the starting

Treks - Shubham Varshney - August 1, 2018

amarnath yatra 2018This is a story of my recent adventure-trek-dream and love for Lord Shiva. This is a story of my recent excursion Amarnath Yatra 2018. This year this annual pilgrimage started from 28th of June to the will of Lord Shiva.

It was all started from the days back to my childhood. When I was a child, my father had the privilege to go there for the consecutive three years. From thence, it eventually became my dream to make a visit to that eternal cave at least for once. And this year I made it or I can say that Lord Shiva fulfilled my desire.

RishikeshThe good omens started coming in between my path from the very starting of this 2018. Many great and amazing things had done with me, but I would like to say that the world just conspired to make them true. As it is said that once you ought to do something with a strong will, it will become intentionally, come true.

Also read: places to visit in Rishikesh

This year I registered for this peaceful pilgrimage and 14 July was the date on which I have to appear at Baltal access gate. There are two routes through which one can make way to cave in which the most revered form of Lord Shiva appears. One is from Baltal and the second one is from Pahalgam. From Baltal, it is a nose-peeping steep trek of 14 km and from Pahalgam, it is of 40 kilometers but full of heavenly things.

Journey to the Amarnath cave

On the 12th of July in the evening, a fleet of four cars left my home city, including ours. Mine was the Mahindra SUV 500 in which we are five guys and a driver. We have covered a journey of 1060 kilometers from Atrauli, a small town in Uttar Pradesh to Baltal. We have passed through the Boulevards of Noida, Ghaziabad, Karnal, Ludhiana, Pathankot, and Srinagar.

amarnath cave

As I have discussed this Amarnath Yatra 2018 in my earlier posts best treks in India and Amarnath yatra latest news, this is the most sacred abode of Lord Shiva. This is the most dangerous trek in India, the changes of terror attacks and natural disasters give weightage to this.

En-route to Baltal, we had crossed the Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, Asia’s longest tunnel had driven along the upstream of Chenab River, and had the amazing experience of watering roads. Having sat in the car I told myself that “it is the journey that lends more meaning than the destination”. We had dinner in a roadside Dhaaba after crossing Kurukshetra.

Langars and Bhandaraas arranged for the Amarnath Yatra

There are thousand people present in this country of myths and believes, they all just wanted to put themselves in such kind of noble activities. We have seen that just after entering in Jammu and Kashmir, the langars and bhandaraas were organized for the yatris. So that they could get their meals easily and can share their religious merit.

Honestly, just after entering J &K, I haven’t had to pay for the meals. Whenever we felt hungry, we simply stop at some roadside Bhandaraas. Had whatever we wanted to eat or drink. Tea, water, milk, food, etc all were present there for us, we were treated as the most important persons on the Earth.

July 13th, 2018 – A fable of Amarnath Yatra

himalayan rangesAfter a continuous run of 10 hours, it was 3 AM clicking in the watch and we were entering the Northern-most Indian state, Jammu, and Kashmir. That was my second time in J & K. Just after entering this state, a sudden realization came that this state is worth having the title of Crown of India. The air filled with the lust of the green Himalayas is solely enough to make fall in love with it.

 

baltal

I pulled down the window mirror and taste the cool breeze of the air, which trying to tell in that I am near to my oasis. The day started began as it taken command over the night’s darkness. We had made our way to the Bhagwati Base Camp, from where the fleet of 12 cars released amid the high security of NSG commandos and BSF. Somewhere in heart, all the people present in that fleet had only one thing in mind that is a dream. A dream to visit or to make it to that eternal cave.

shubham varshneyFrom Bhagwati Nagar base camp to Baltal, the distance is 375 kilometers and believe me I have seen an NSG command at every 50 meters. The security was so tight that no attacker will dare to invade it. The Indian Armed forces just amazed me by its power. We have saluted to every possible commando and army man. And the most courteous thing is that they all have responded back, as their acknowledgment.

It was eleven in the morning had breakfast near Udhampur city, in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir and headed for the destination. In the middle of the journey, I found myself trapped in the beauty of the Himalayan Ranges. The greenery was endowed on the land, the mountains were laden with green trees and the small formation of clouds made the moment picture-perfect.

The petrichor was so elegant that it could fail each deo and the most calming sound was of those tiny droplets of rainwater which were touching our windshield. On this day, I realized that why this state is known as the heaven on the earth. Very far away from the hustle and bustle lives, this state kept the very mesmerizing vistas. The only thing that put me in vain was the holding of Pakistan’s flag in the hands of the natives.

We have crossed many cities which were all silent, I was just able to spot only the military men. Had a pass-through Dal Lake in Srinagar and marched towards Baltal. We stuck to the highway which was going to the place which is a dream of many, it was none other than, Leh and Ladakh. I have seen many riders who were riding their bikes as a pure traveler. And honestly, they filled me completely with the joy of traveling.

By the end of the day we have reached Baltal and in its parking, we have parked and gone through many security checks. After that, we looked for a perfect place for meal and rest. Sooner and later, we have reached to the Bhandara which was organized by the Committee of Amarnath Yatra Aligarh. We have halted there, had a leisure walk on the streets of Baltal camp and enjoyed the stars-lid sky.

The next day was the day which was assigned us to climb the mountains to reach that auspicious cave. That night was one of the longest nights of my life. I will share the experience of that most awaited day in my later post till then stay connect and stay tuned. And live life to its fullest.

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