Jammu and Kashmir State (presently UT) is a haven for trekkers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Thre are so many trekking destinations and routes in Jammu and Kashmir. However there are some less explored treks in Jammu & Kashmir. The National Heritage Trekking Expedition is one such trek. YHAI has been conducting this trek during summer. I had been to this trek a couple of years ago. Here I share some facts from that trek for information.
The National Heritage Trekking Expedition J&K
A Quick Glance at the National Heritage Trek Jammu & Kashmir
Altitude : 7000f/2150m
Level : Easy/Moderate
Duration : 7days
Best Season : May/November
Base Camp Udhampur. Trek starts from Udhampur, passing through Mantalai, Karimchi, Pancheri forests, Sankri Devta, Nathatop, Sanasar, Patnitop, Gauri Kund, Sudh Mahadev and finally ending at Udhampur.and finally ending at Udhampur.
Highlights : Mantalai, Karimchi, Pancheri forests, Sankri Devta, Nathatop, Sanasar, Patnitop, Gauri Kund, Sudh Mahadev andDhirendra Brahamachari Ashram.
The National Heritage Trek J&K
The Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI), J&K State Branch organises the National Heritage Trek. In this expedition the participants get to visit and see some of the most scenic and beautiful areas of Jammu & Kashmir. The 07 days Trekking programme also takes the participants through locations that has historical and mythological importance like Sudh Mahadev, Gauri Kund and Mantalai.
I had the opportunity of participating in this trekking Expedition couple of years ago. I would say all YHAI Treks are unique giving you completely different experience. This was also no exception and more than what I was expecting and bargained for. Except for 3 of us most of the participants were from different regions of Kashmir and soon we all became good friends.
National Heritage Trekking Expedition Dates
Udhampur is the base camp where participants have to report and we reported. Our trek started the next day when we were carried by a bus to Karimchi from where we trekked unto Sankri Devta. The real trekking expedition starts from Sankri Devta and in fact this is the toughest trek of the entire route.
Next day trek was easy and enjoyable from Katti to Sanasar passing through Natha Top (the highest point of the trek). Sanasar is a beautiful hill station and one of the most enjoyable place during the expedition. In fact it looks like Khajjiar (in Himachal Pradesh) with a small lake and a vast meadow for adventure sports like para gliding etc. Our next day trekking was from Sanasar to Patnitop, which is a very popular hill station of Jammu region. There is a YHAI hostel at Patnitop where we halted. The participants had a lot of time at their hands so they went about cleaning the hill station asking the residents and shopkeepers also to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.
On the second last leg of the National Heritage Trekking Expedition J&K, the route was one of the most interesting, enjoyable though a bit long trek, from Patnitop to Mantalai. The participants reached Mantalai after a long and grueling trek, passing through gauri kund, Sudh Mahadev and finally the Dhirendra Brahamchari Ashram at Mantalai. The halt was at the Ashram, and the place worth a visit. The trekking expedition comes to end the next day after certificate distribution and goodbyes. The trekking expedition was earlier conducted in the month of May every year but from 2018-19 onwards the same is conducted in the months of October and November.
Magnificent Heritage of the State and Beauty of Nature
To see with your own eyes and have this unique once in a lifetime experience, The Jammu & Kashmir Heritage Trek is a must do trekking expedition as it provides the trekkers with a glimpse of magnificent natural and heritage of the state and study of flora and fauna of area.
Duration of YHAI National Heritage Trekking Expedition is Seven Days
The program fee which is very nominal includes simple vegetarian food, accommodation, supervision, expert guidance and equipment for the duration of the trekking expedition.
The Route And Itinerary of the J&K Heritage Trekking Expedition
Day1 : Reporting at base camp Udhampur.
Day2:Via Krimchi by bus to Sankri Dvta-Pancheri.
Day3:13 Kms Trek from Pancheri to Katti.
Day4:12 Kms Trek from Katti to Sanasar.
Day5:14 Kms Trek from Sansar to Patnitop via Nathatop.
Day6:14 Kms trek from Patnitop to Mantalai.
Day7: Transfer by Bus to Udhampur base camp and from there disperse after evaluation and certificate distribution.
All the places are beautiful especially, Sanasar, Patnitop, the Dhirendhra Brahamchari Ashram at Mantalai. However, one place that is worth mentioning is the Sudh Mahadev Temple.
Sudh Mahadev Temple, Jammu & Kashmir
This highly revered Shiva temple at Sudh Mahadev is located 42 Kms from Patnitop and 112 Kms from Jammu. It is believed that near Sudh Mahadev, there is a spring called Gouri Kund, where the Goddess Parvati would come and worship the Shivling. The Shivalinga is believed to be of at least 3000 years old. This Shiva temple houses a black marble statue of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati.
Mystical Underground Holy Stream Devak
Pilgrims in large number visit the shrine and worship Lord Shiva. Nearby is located a mystical underground stream called Devak, which originates at Sudh Mahadev, disappearing among the rocks some distance downstream. This Devak stream is believed to be as sacred as the Ganges
This is therefore the place where Bhagwan Shiv and mata parvati got married amidst green meadows and pastures; lofty mountains; thick deodar, cheer forests; clear natural water springs.