Kashmir with Amarnath Tours
Delhi - Srinagar - Pahalgam - Chandanwari - Sheshnag - Panchtarni - Amarnath - Bal-Tal - Kargil - Leh
Enter the lap of nature – snow capped Himalaya Mountains, beautiful lakes, Chir and Pine forests, and gushing rivers. One of the most beautiful regions of India, surpassing paradise. Trace the Islamic history from the 14th century, and experience a rich cultural heritage. The Mughal rulers of India, retreated from the heat of the plains to the cool, green heights of Kashmir.
Enjoy a four day Lidder to Sindh Valley trek, wandering and camping at a height of over 3000 m through mule tracks, scenic meadows, beautiful glacial lakes, forests and snowbound passes. Be part of the Amarnath Yatra contending with 25000 Hindu pilgrims annually who visit the cave. Witness natures secret an ice lingam (a symbol of Lord Shiva) which changes size according to the season.
Day 01: Delhi
Flight to Delhi
Day 02: Delhi
Arrive Delhi, in its 3000 years of existence seven cities rose where the present capital of India stands. Here you'll encounter a fascinating blend of the ancient and the contemporary. Where government buildings, medieval palaces and bazaars exist beside a modern metropolis. Delhi is a city waiting to be explored. Transfer to hotel.
Morning enjoy a half day city Tour of Old Delhi. Visit the 7th city of Delhi - Shahjahanabad, which was built by the MughalEmperor Shah Jahan (1639-48 AD) after he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. The Red Fort –17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge boundary wall 33m high. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens. Pass through the impressive.
Naubat Khana or the Music Gallery / Drum House where ceremonial music was played 5 times a day to the glory of the Emperor.
The floral panels were painted in gold or other colours, traces still visible on the gateway. The open courtyard leads to the Diwan-i-Am - the hall of public audience, where the normal visitor would reach. The hall is well proportioned with a façade of nine cusped arches standing three-based deep. At the back of the hall is the platform where the marble throne of the Emperor was situated. Silk carpets and brocade curtains hung from the outside of the building, the canopy rings are still visible above the pillars. The Diwan-i-Khas - hall of private audience is built completely of white marble and was decorated with inlaid precious and semi precious stones, and the ceiling was of silver. In the center stood the famous Peacock Throne on a marble pedestal with a gold canopy with two peacocks at the back and a parrot carved out of a single emerald.
The throne was inlaid with a vast number of sapphires, rubies, emeralds, pearls and diamonds. The Royal Palaces or Khas Mahal consists of three rooms, highly decorated with fine silk carpets and rich silk brocade curtains. The walls lavishly decorated - the Tasbih Khana or the private prayer chamber, the Khwabgah or the dream palace for the emperor, the Tosh Khana – private sitting room with a beautiful marble screen, which is carved with the scales of justice above the filigree grill. The Rang Mahal - chamber for the ladies of the royal harem, beautifully decorated with a silver ceiling ornamented with golden flowers to reflect the water running in the channel in the building. The Sheesh Mahal or the Mirror Palace set with hundreds of small mirrors in the ceiling. In the center is a lotus shaped marble fountain. Moti Masjid – the pearl mosque built by Aurangzeb in white marble for his personal use. It looks like a small pearl with exquisite decorations. TheNahir-i-Bihisht or stream of paradise flows through a water channel from the Hammams or Royal Baths through the palaces. The Hammams have three apartments separated by corridors with canals to carry water to each room. There are three fountains emitted rose water.
Opposite the Red Fort lies Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble, completed in 1656 at a cost of one million Rupees has perfect proportions. India's largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels. Finally toChandni Chowk – the Moonlight Square, (silver streets) with narrow lanes and alleys leading into mohallas or wards devoted to workers of different trades. A rikshaw ride through the narrow streets and lanes will certainly transport you to the era gone by. Finally visit Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna is Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words "Hey Ram". An eternal flame burns 24 hours.
Afternoon tour New Delhi: The Humayun's Tomb, built by his wife Haji Begum in the 16th. Century. An early example ofHumayun's TombMughalarchitecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The elements in its design – a squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by bulbous dome and surrounded by the char bagh (garden divided into quadrants), water channels and fountains. It was from here that the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zaffar was taken captive by the British and sent to Rangoon. TheQutub Minar – the landmark of Delhi, a huge tower of victory started in 1199 and completed in 1368. The minar is 72.5m high with a diameter at the base 14.4m and 2.7m at the top. The tower has 379 steps to the top. Qutub-ud-din built the first 3 storeys and his son-in-law Iltutmish added the fourth. Twice it was damaged due to lighting in 1326 and 1368, while repairing the damaged caused by the second, Firoz Shah Tughluq added a 5th storey and used marble to face the red and buff sand stone.
The Quwat-ul-Islam mosque in the complex was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak using the building material and pillars of the 27 demolished Hindu and Jain temples, defacing the figures of gods, goddesses, birds and animals as engravings of any living being as these are not acceptable in Islam. In the middle of the mosque there is an iron pillar from the 4th century 7 m high, has a six line Sanskrit inscription which indicates that it was initially erected outside a Vishnu Temple, possibly during the Gupta period in Bihar. Scientists have never discovered how the iron, which is of such purity has not rusted after 2000 years. Proceed to the once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India. Designed by Lutyens, it combines western and eastern styles – the dome reflects the Buddhist stupa, the chattris Hindu and the graceful colonades very British.
It has 340 rooms. In the center is an imperial symbol, the Jaipur column donated by the Maharaja of Jaipur, which stood as a symbol of victory, carved with English oak leaves, it culminates brilliantly in a bronze Indian lotus from which bursts forth a crystal star. The 4.3m high iron grill at the entrance is decorative and airy as antique lace, it conveys at the same time an impression of solidity with its red stone piers and sentry posts, and elephants carrying lamps and urns. A masterpiece of symmetry, discipline, silhouette and harmony. The Government Buildings designed by Baker, are topped by baroque domes and decorated with lotus motifs and elephants, while the north and south gateways are Mughal in design. The northern building has an inscription with "Liberty will not descend to a people a people must raise themselves to liberty. It is a blessing which must be earned before it can be enjoyed".
The Parliament House, designed by Baker is 173m in diameter. Earlier it was intended to have a dome with but the idea was dropped. Inside is the liberary and chambers for the council of state, chamber of princes and legislative assembly.
The India Gate (42m) arch built of Bharatpur stone, commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the 1st world war. 13516 names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and foundations. Under the arch, the Amar Jawan Jyoti commemorating Indian armed forces' losses in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.
Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Delhi - Srinagar
After breakfast transfer to Delhi's domestic airport for flight to Srinagar.
On arrival, transfer to your houseboat.
Dinner and overnight in house boat.
Day 04: Srinagar
Srinagar is situated between the Pir Panjal and the Higher Himalayas, at an height of 1580 m. The Nagin and Dal lakes dominate Srinagar.
After breakfast sightseeing in Srinagar: Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) 1674 is notable for the wooden pillars supporting the roof,Dal Lake Srinagareach made from a single deodar tree. The Pattar Masjid - Stone Mosque 1623 built for the Empress Nur Jahan. You walk through the bazaar, observe the city and activities along with the banks of Jhelum river and cross one of the 7 wooden bridges. Before returning to houseboat visit a carpet factory. During the visit you see how the workers manufacture a fine carpet in silk and wool.
Afternoon visit the Mughal Gardens - Shalimar Bagh built by Jahangir for his wife, Nur Jahan. The gardens distinguished by a series of terraces linked by a water channel, surrounded by decorative pools. The uppermost pavilion has black marble pillars and niches in the walls for flowers during the day and candles at night. The water tumbles in a series of waterfalls. The Chashma Shahi (Royal Spring) a smaller garden built by Shah Jahan around a renowned spring. Originally the water bubbled into a marble lotus basin in a central pavilion. Experience the Mughal romance as you walk through these gardens .Before dinner you get enough time to pack your baggage for the 4 day wander tour.
Dinner and overnight at the boat.
Day 05: Srinagar - Pahalgam (48 km) - Chandanwari
After breakfast drive to Pahalgam (96 km) at an altitude of 2130 m. The journey along roads lined with poplar, is very attractive. Set Chandanwariamidst pine and fir woods, surrounded by snow capped mountains. The shepherds are a common sight herding their flocks from pasture to pasture, thus maintaining the tracks and bridges over this trekking country. Around the town are seen luxuriant meadows and groves of poplar, willow and mulberry, which is important for the sericulture. It is also the center for the famous Kashmir Saffron – which grows in profusion here. This is where you begin your wandering tour / trek. You only need to carry your camera and water bottles, your baggage will be transported on the mules. From Pahalgam drive to Aru offering excellent views down the valley. The trail from here climbs through pine forests to a Gujar grazing meadow with flocks of goats and sheep. Follow the Lidder River to Chandanwari (2895m) 16km. Camp near a river.
Dinner and overnight in tents.
Day 06: Chandanwari - Sheshnag
Get up early morning and start trekking along a pony track; in places steps are cut into the mountainside. During the day you see thousands of pilgrims. After a hard 4 hours climb up to Pissughati and passing Zojibal, you reach the beautiful glacial lake at Sheshnag (11 km) (3573m). The day's trekking strain is soon forgotten as you overlook wonderful mountain landscapes around. The seductive mountain peaks reflect in the crystal clear water.
This is where we set up camp for the night on the bank of the lake.
Dinner and overnight in camps.
Day 07: Sheshnag - Panchtarni
After breakfast we climb up to the snow-bound Mahgunis-Pass (4580m), which is the highest point in this wander tour. You reach the snow zone cross a glacier through Poshpathar, then descend to Panchtarni (3800m) (13 km) in the Sindh Valley Our camping place is situated on the confluence of 2 rivers. In the green mountain valley can be seen sheep and horses. The scenery is breathtaking.
Dinner and overnight in tents.
Day 08: Panchtarni - Amarnath (6 Km) - Bal - Tal (12Km)
Get up before the sunrise. Today begins your trek to Amarnath Cave (6 km), one of the most religious place of Hindus at anAmarnath cavealtitude of 3.962 m. You see the pilgrims taking holy bath in the ice cold water and performing rituals. The steep rock cut steps leads you to the cave. After the visit of the Amarnath Cave where the ice lingam stands, a century old symbolic statue of God Shiva, begins the ascent to Bal-Tal, a small village the last Kashmiri settlement at the foot of the Zoji La Pass, entering the Zanskar Valley. Every year this pass is closed due to snowfall.
On our arrival in Bal-Tal our camping tents are ready. Here ends your wander tour.
Dinner and overnight in Bal-Tal.
Day 09: Bal Tal – Srinagar - Delhi
After breakfast drive to Srinagar airport to board flight for Delhi.
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