Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra, India's toughest pilgrimage
Since monsoon floods put Uttarakhand out of bounds for at least a season, pilgrims are eyeing the Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra in Himachal Pradesh with greater interest than ever before. Be warned, however, that this is not for the weak of limb or faint of heart. The 35 km pilgrimage, one of the toughest in the world, ascends through alpine meadows beyond the snow line to a 72-ft high pinnacle of rock, dubbed as the Shivling, at 16,900 feet above sea level. The yatra, organised by the Himachal Pradesh government, typically takes 10 days to complete and prior registration is mandatory. Pilgrims begin the yatra at Jaon village, 170 km from Shimla and 200 km from Kullu by road. A 3-km trek leads them to the base camp at Singhad, the last habitation. From here. The journey requires periodic stops for rest and acclimatization. Private rest tents are available along the way. Pilgrims must carry water bottles, glucose sachets, warm clothing, rainwear, flashlights and rations of dry fruits and dates. Avoid overpacking and ensure that you undergo a medical checkup to determine your fitness before the trip. The Yatra is held in July every year and over 18,000 people visit every year. If you plan to make the journey next year, start working on your fitness.
According to legend, the demon Bhasmasur performed hard penance and pleased Lord Shiva, who granted him the power to turn anyone he touched with his hand into ashes. Drunk on egotistic pride, Bhasmasur attempted to touch Shiva, upon which the Lord fled with the demon in chase. He hid in a cave and later appeared on a mountain top, which is believed to be Shrikhand Mahadev. Shiva enlisted the help of Vishnu who transformed himself into the female enchantress Mohini and tricked Bhasmasura into touching his own head, upon which the demon turned into ashes.
Standard package per person: Approx Rs 17,000
Day-wise Yatra itinerary: Shimla - Damahar - Bheem Talai - Parvati Bagh - Shrikhand Mahadev - Parvati Bagh - Thachru - Damahar - Shimla
PHOTOS: VIKAS CHAUDHARY
About the photographer: Vikas Chaudhary is a marketing professional working with a regional newspaper in Chandigarh. He loves nature and is spiritually inclined.
- live match RAJ 0/0 (0 Overs)vs. MOHRAJMatch 18LIVECurrent Run RateMotera, Ahmedabad, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
- Upcoming matchvs. ENGWI2nd TestTue, Apr 21, 2015St George's, Grenada, West IndiesEngland in West Indies Tes...
- Upcoming matchvs. PAKBAN3rd ODIWed, Apr 22, 2015Mirpur, BangladeshPakistan in Bangladesh ODI...
- Upcoming matchvs. KOLHYDMatch 19Wed, Apr 22, 2015Visakhapatnam, IndiaIndian Premier League, 201...
Latest Photo Albums
Action images from the match at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium. More » IPL8: Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Action images from the match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. [Scores] More » IPL8: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians
Action images from the match in Ahmedabad. [Scores] More » IPL8: Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings
Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and opted to bowl first against Kings XI Punjab in Pune in the clash between the two finalists of IPL 2014.
Click here for Scorecard More » IPL8: Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders
The Delhi Daredevils chose to bat first against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam.
Click here to view Scorecard More » IPL8: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Daredevils
Hosts Mumbai Indians followed an unwanted 3-match losing streak and have their back against the wall. They have to bounce back sooner than later before it's too late for them. Chennai on the other hand have started their campaign on a high with back to back wins and will be looking to continue … More » IPL8: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians
Is it the Shah Rukh Khan magic? Kolkata Knight Riders is the top ranked team with a brand value of $86 million (Rs 536 crore).
(Source: American Appraisal Report on brand values in the Indian Premier League 2015) More » Revealed: The most valued IPL brands this year
Action images from the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Vizag. [Scores] More » IPL8: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals
Whether you are at the stadium or in front of the TV, these cheerleaders will grab your attention. Take a look...More » IPL8: Bringing Cheer To The IPL
Action images from the match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. [Scores] More » IPL8: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Action stills from the match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. More » IPL8: Anushka Cheers RCB