|Shri Amarnath Yatra- The traditional journey path through Pehelgam
Page 9: Panjtarni -Sangam- Holy Cave
The rest of the path is congested for a couple of kilometers where you see horses qued up at places allowing horses to come from the opposite side. You have to be more careful while traveling as the passage is steeper at places.
Sangam is a place where the route coming from Baltal joins. And then just a couple of steps and you start getting the Darshan of the holy cave from far off. The darshan of the holy cave itself is so beautiful that it makes you forget of all the hardships you have been through. The rest of the distance covers up like some strong magnet is pulling you directly in front of your eyes. It could be that most of the times you don't even look where you are walking and you keep moving with eyes stuck at the holy cave kilometers away.
Watch in the picture above and try to spot the Holy Cave.
That is the place where almost everything is on the glaciar. Tents, markets and walking path.
The only thing we saw made of proper stone/ concrete, was Shri Shri Swami Gyan Giri ji Maharaj's ashram, preparing constant food for all meal times for decades now. There are other langars also situated at this place on tents coming from various parts of India. We thank all those devotees too.
The Holy Cave
Amarnath Cave from a distance
Jai Bhole! Jai Maa!
The temporary habitat starts a kilometer before, where people fix up temporary tents on the glacier. When we went, it was all covered up with many feets of ice and the whole bazaar and tents where built up on that. People use insulation sheets at the bottom to save from the chilling ice beneath. Long bazaar of all (completely all) muslim shops selling worship items of Hindus and calling Jai Bhole, Jai Bhole.
Alongside in the valley runs the fresh water river and chilling too. Take a bath or have it warmed up by the facilitators for around Rs 100 a bucket. If you reached here late evening, you can ideally sleep in one of the tents and go for the darshan, next day morning.
There is no electric charging point for your phone or camera for the common pilgrims. Most of it runs on the generators of the langarwalas.
Dress up fresh, take your worshiping items along the way. Around a hundred steps takes you under the Holy Cave. Army security check, thorough body frisking and then around 50 steps to see what you came here for. And in front is what you wish you keep seeing forever, the SHIVLING, of ice. ALL SELF MADE by nature or GOD himself.
A remarkable thing to notice is that the Shivling is self made of solid ice and made all by itself and for kilometers around, you find only soft and loose ice.
Alongside the shivling, do observe the are other self made idols of Sheshnag, Lord Ganesha and Maa Parwati's idols as well.
You are prevented to go further by the authorities after a certain distance just feets away from the Shivling with the help of a cage allowing you to only see through and not touch. However you can say it is close enough to have any regrets.
Concentrate only on the Darshan when you stand in front and you are the closest to the Shivling and then taking a few steps down you are allowed to do the darshan again from a distance where you can perform your pooja etc what you wish to.
Going down further you can collect the Jal transformed from the shivling ice and then some place down you also find a place where you get bhasm, a dust that is self transforming from the stones. You can take a little and put on your forehead too.
Move down further from the same path or you can choose the shortcut to Baltal.
Just a little about the other path and the beautiful base camp at Baltal, the road from where you can take a route to Kargil or other places.