AMARNATH YATRA WITH SRINAGAR AND GULMARG
There is famous Rigvedic Verse that says "Ekam Sat " which means that "There is one Being whose journey is often converted into a ritual pilgrimage blessed by the divine. This transformational journey during which significant changes take place gives a new meaning to every step taken for deeper understanding and purification of the soul. When a person completes this kind of a pilgrimage he sees life in a different perspective, full of peace and eternity. We offer you a similar journey that gives you a chance to experience this kind of soul transformation in the land of peace. Known as The Amarnath Yatra this Hindu pilgrimage is an essential part in rediscovering the faith of yourself.
Amarnath Cave is named after Mount Amarnath (5,486m), where it is located nearly 4000 m high. Because of this height, the cave is covered with snow for most of the year. Only for a short period in sommer, the entrance is accessible. The cave is an formed of huge rocks where it contains a certain amount of ice stalagmites. The shrine is claimed to be over 5000 years old and forms an important part of ancient Hindu Mythology. Inside the main cave lies an ice stalagmite resembling the guardian of the absolute, Lord Shiva, the destroyer, in the form of an ice-lingam. This lingam is formed naturally of an ice stalagmite which wakes up and wanes with the moon.There are two other ice formations representating Parvati and Shivaís son, Ganesh. Surrounded by beautiful valleys, mountains , one will always feel His presence on the paradise of the earth, the memory of which hardly vanishes with time A journey which will rediscover the nature and its love which is always inside but one has never felt.
» Day 01: Arrive in Srinagar
On your arrival in Srinagar, you will be transferred to the houseboats. The day will be spent in complete leisure as you take on to the breathtaking views of the surroundings. In the late afternoon, you will be taken on a 2 hrs trip to the backwaters of the lake in a Shikara. All meals and overnight stay at houseboats.
» Day 02: Sightseeing of Srinagar: (Mughal gardens and Shankaracharya Temple)
After breakfast in the morning we visit the Shankaracharya temple. The drive goes uphill goes through a dense forest. The temple has stood on the hill for more then a millennium and is said to be the seat of the Great Adi Shankaracharya. Later we will visit the famous Mughal gardens known as Pari Mahal and Cheshma Shahi. The ruined Pari Mahal palace, was built by the erstwhile Mughal dynasty, and is perched on a small hill overlooking the lake and the world famous Royal Springs golf course. We will then visit the Cheshma Shahi springs and the famous Mughal gardens of Nishat and Shalimar. The Nishat and Shalimar gardens were built on a symmetrical plan of a central waterway with fountains dividing a series of gardened terraces . Nishat lies on the shores of the lake and was laid out in 1633. It is the largest of all the Royal gardens . The gardens on either sides of the water course are planted with tall Chinar trees, which you can see at their best in Spring. A couple of kilometers further on is the Shalimar garden built for Nur Jahan by her husband , the Mughal Emperor Jahangir . The central black marble pavilion in the Zenana or Ladies' garden is surrounded by water and looks out in four directions . Below in the Diwan -i - Am , the hall of Public Audiences the Emperor used to sit on a black marble throne above the water. Afterwards we will drive back to the houseboats. Overnight in houseboats.
» Day 03: Srinagar to Kullan Ė Sonamarg via Khir-Bhawani: (88 km / 7-8 hrs includes sightseeing)
After breakfast we will drive to our luxurious camps at Kullan, Sonamarg. Enroute to our camp, we will visit the famed Khir Bhawani Temple. The Khirbhawani Temple is animportant Hindu Shrine associated with the Hindu Goddess, Ragnya Devi. The temple was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1912 & later renovated by Maharaja Hari Singh. The diety of Goddess Ragyna is decorated in a small white marble temple. Legend goes that Lord Rama worshipped Mother Ragyna during his exile & desired Hanuman ji to shift the seat of Mother after the expiry of his exile period, who then brought it to Shadipora and latter shifted to Khir Bhawani. After we explore and pay respects at the temple, we will drive further to our camp for rest and relaxation as we have a long day tomorrow. Overnight in Sonamarg Nature Resort.
» Day 04: Camp to Cave and back to camp: (15 kmís trek)
We will have a very early breakfast in the morning and drive to our base camp at Baltal located around 21 kmís here. On your arrival at the base, you can arrange your horse ride which can be done quite easily and then begin your journey to the cave. The journey takes a whole day while going and coming back. You will return to the base camp late in the evening and will be transferred to your camp for rest and relaxation. Overnight in camps.
» Day 05: Kullan to Srinagar
We will drive to Srinagar in the afternoon from the camp. On our arrival in Srinagar, you will be taken to the central part of the city for some shopping on your own. Later you will be driven back to the houseboats. Overnight in houseboats.
» Day 06: Srinagar to Gulmarg: (Day trip 112 kmís return
After breakfast in the morning, we will drive to Gulmarg, driving through rich paddy fields and fruit orchards. The drive to Gulmarg takes around 2-3 hrs and the last 16 kmís get more interesting as you begin to ascend the pine and fir forests to the golden meadow of Gulmarg. In Gulmarg, you can take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain or take a spiritual walk into the glen, getting mesmerized with the nature. Later you will take a short hike to the small Shiva temple located in the middle of the Gulmarg slopes. In the late afternoon, you will be transferred back to the houseboats. Overnight in houseboats.
» Day 07: Srinagar Departure
After breakfast in the morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
SUFI TOUR'S: THE HEIGHTS OF THE SPIRIT
Travel changes us, by changing what we see, taste and hear. Even the most superficial excursions can have an effect. And when we have the chance to meet with profoundly spiritual people in places that have built spiritual energy for hundreds or thousands of years, travel can transform our very souls.
Join us as we journey to the land of whirling dervishes, magic carpets, exotic bazaars andthe poetry of Alama Iqbal. We will enjoy beautiful views of the Dal Lake and take walks through the old city, a gentle area where
we can sip Kashmiri tea brewed in copper pots, with the scent of the spice markets filling the air. We will immerse ourselves in this land that inspires both dreams and poetry. In Kashmir we will visit the Grand Jama Mosque. This great piece of architecture has been one of the most significant structures in the Islamic state of Kashmir for more then 600 years. A special highlight of Kashmir is the many Sufi teachers and communities that are currently active there. A walk around the shrine & mosque of Shah Ė E Ė Hamdan, the ecstatic mystic, teacher and poet of the 14th century, will welcome us with music and zikr (sacred chants of the soul). Other dervish groups in and around Kashmir will meet with us, pray with us, and share food, music, and joy. Another unique opportunity will be praying at the tomb of Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali, an experience which offers spiritual presence and the energy of love to the seeker of truth. Visiting the magical dreamscape of Gulmarg and the adjoining Baba Reshi will invite us into the depths of our imagination, giving us the chance to experience the path beyond form and rule and cultivate the experience of the awakened heart. And yes, of course there is great shopping and heavenly food throughout. We hope you will join us for this joyful and sacred adventure. We would love to share the journey with you.
» Day 01: Arrive Srinagar
On your arrival in Srinagar you will be welcomed with Kashmiri flowers and transferred to Houseboat Lotus Retreat in the famous Dal Lake . The Mughals aptly called Kashmir, Paradise, and they journeyed across the tortuously hot plains of India,to summer in the cool environs of Srinagar. And here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar's many formal, water-front gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Today's Srinagar is a pleasure resort for the tourist who can experience, at first hand, the peculiar beauty of the valley that has attracted the Chinese, the Mughals and the British to it. In the afternoon we will take a shikara ride into the lake visiting the floating gardens and the intricate water channels.
» Day 02: In Srinagar
After breakfast in the morning we visit the Nishat and Shalimar gardens built on a symmetrical plan of a central waterway with fountains dividing a series of gardened terraces . Nishat lies on the shores of the lake was laid out in 1633. It is the largest of all the Royal gardens . The gardens on either side of the water course are planted with tall Chinar trees, which you can see at their best in Spring. A couple of kilometers further on is the Shalimar garden built for Nur Jahan by her husband , the Mughal Emperor Jahangir . The central black marble pavilion in the Zenana or Ladies' garden is surrounded by water and looks out in four directions . Below in the Diwan -i - Am , the hall of Public Audiences the Emperor used to sit on a black marble throne above the water . Afternoon visit the Sufi Dargah of highly respected Pir- Mirak Sahib . Offer spiritual prayer here . O/n Houseboat
» Day 03: Srinagar to Pahalgam: (Full day trip / 188 km Ė return)
After breakfast in the morning, we will paddle across the lake and board our vehicles for a couple of hours drive to Pahalgam. Pahalgam lies situated in the north eastern part of Kashmir and has an elevation of 8989 feet above sea level. The drive takes us through the saffron fields of Pampore and the pine forests of lower Pahalgam. We explore Pahalgam by walk or by ponies with a magnificent view of the mountains. Later while driving back to Srinagar, we will visit the great shrine of Baba Zainshah sahib at Aish-mukam. This village is associated with Sheikh Zain-ud-din, the principal disciple of a famous saint of Kashmir called Sheikh Nur-ud-din. Sheikh Zain-ud-din is believed to have lived here in a cave in the 15th century. This cave shrine located on a hill draws a large number of visitors. Legend says that the Sheikh Zain-ud-din found numerous snakes, reptiles and cobras on his arrival at the cave. The saint took a club which he had received from his master and transformed it into a dreadful cobra by his spiritual power, and the snakes vacated the cave. After the visit, we will drive back to our abode at Srinagar. O/n Houseboat
» Day 04: In Srinagar: Local sightseeing of the old city
After breakfast in the morning, we will drive into the old city to visit a number of important places. Our visit will include the Jama Mosque, The Shrine of Shah-Hamdan, Makhdum Sahib and The Hazratbal shrine. Later we will drive back to the houseboats for our overnight stay.
The Jama Masjid
The Grand Jama Mosque was built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 A.D. The mosque was later extended by his son the Great Zain-ul-Abidin. The chief attractions of the mosque are its Indo-Saracenic architecture, magnificent courtyard and its huge 370 wooden pillars. Another feature of the mosque is the peace and tranquility inside it, standing against the hustle of the old bazaars around it. The mosque can hold around 33000 worshippers on a single day of prayer inside it.
The shrine of Shah-E-Hamdan
The next visit will be to the Grand Khanqah of Shah-E-Hamdan. Situated on the banks of river Jehlum, between the third and fourth bridge, it is the first mosque ever built in Srinagar. The original structure was built in 1395 A.D. The great sufi saint Shah-E-Hamdanís full name was Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA). The surname has been derived from his birth-city Hamdan in Persia (Present day Iran). This great saint is one of the key players in spreading the Islamic message into the valley. After staying in Kashmir for many years, he left for Central Asia via Ladakh. The Khanqah (Seat) in Srinagar is a wooden structure whose chief aesthetic is its beautifully carved leaves and hanging bells. The interiors are richly carved and painted, and the antique chandeliers give it an opulence. We offer prayers here at noon and then drive to visit another shrine.
Our next destination is the shrine of Makhdum Sahib, who is respected as a great divine in the state. Makhdoom Sahib Shrine is located on the southern side of Hari Parbat Hill. This double storied mosque, in the name of the Sufi saint Makhdoom Sahib or Hazrat Sultan, placed below the attractive Mughal Fort alias the Hari Parbat Fort, is a structure with many pillars and is a rare example of Mughal architectural style. This mosque brings out the ancient culture and archaeological values in the Mughal period. Hazrat Sultan is believed to have divine powers and many devotees visit here irrespective of the religion. We will wrap upto the tour with a visit to the Great Hazratbal shrine
The Hazratbal shrine contains a relic believed by many muslims of Kashmir to be a hair of the Islamic prophet Muhammad The name of the shrine comes from the Arabic word Hazrat, meaning holy or majestic, and the Kashmiri word bal, meaning place. The shrine is situated on the left bank of the Dal Lake, Srinagar and is considered to be Kashmir's holiest Muslim shrine.  The Moi-e-Muqqadas (the sacred hair) of Mohammed is believed to be preserved here. The shrine is known by many local names such as: Hazratbal, Assar-e-sharif, Madinat-us-Sani, or simply Dargah Sharif.
» Day 05: Srinagar to Gulmarg to Srinagar: (112 km / Full day tour):
After breakfast in the morning, we will drive to Gulmarg, driving through rich paddy fields and fruit orchards. The drive to Gulmarg takes around 2-3 hrs and the last 16 kmís get more interesting as you begin to ascend the pine and fir forests to the golden meadow of Gulmarg. In Gulmarg, you can take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain or take a spiritual walk into the glen, getting mesmerized with the nature. Afterwards we will drive to visit the sacred shrine of Baba Reshi. The well known saint was also a courtier in Emperor Zain ul Abidinís time. This tomb was built in memory of the saint who died at this place in the year 1480. Dating back to the Mughal period, this tomb is visited by thousands of devotees all through the year. We drive back to the city in the late afternoon and transfer to the houseboats for rest and relaxation. Overnight in houseboats.
» Day 06: Srinagar to Charar-e-Sharif: (80 kmís return / full day tour)
After breakfast in the morning we will take a tour to Charare-Sharif which also happens to be our last day of the tour in Srinagar. The drive of 40 kmís from the city takes us across dusty suburban area of Srinagar. On your arrival in Chara-sharif you will proceed to the shrine and offer your prayers. The pilgrimage destination of Charar-e-sharief is one of the most sacred Muslim shrines, dedicated to the memory of the Sufi saint Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, who was the patron saint of the Muslims in Kashmir. During the Sheikh's lifetime, he witnessed a cultural and religious transformation of those around him, from Hinduism to Islam. A number of historical events prompted the Sheikh to produce some valuable works of philosophy, in verses and poetry. The Wali was born in 1378 and died in 1430 A.D. Kashmir's precious heritage was dear to his heart . It was for these views of humanistic philosophy that he was called ALAMDAR - the standard bearer of Kashmir . Later we drive back to Srinagar and visit a local yet famous sufi saint at his house. In the evening, we will have a special farewell dinner accompanied with sufi music and songs at the houseboat. Overnight in houseboats.
» Day 07: Depart from Srinagar
After breakfast in the morning, you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Delhi or any further destination