Jammu, May 31: After a gap of nearly a century,
the pilgrimage to the Harmukh-Gangbal shrine situated at an
altitude of 12000 feet is all set to begin from Srinagar
"A batch of over 40 Kashmiri Pandits today left for
ancient Harmukh-gangbal yatra to the sacred lake in Kangan
belt of Ganderbal district from here today," chairman of
all party migrant coordination committee (APMCC) Vindood
Pandit told reporter here.
The traditional three-day-long yatra has been revived
as part of efforts to restore historic religious places which
are of importance to Kashmiri Pandits and preserve their
cultural and religious history, he said.
According to mythology, the region is also the abode
of Lord Shiva from whose hair locks the holy river flows down
forming the lake.
Gangbal is situated in the hills of Harmukh range in
north east of Kashmir valley, at a height of 12000 feet on
the Ganderbal-Sonamarg road. Gangbal is also called Harmukut
Ganga and is believed that this place is pious as Haridwar
where pilgrims perform prayers and immerse ashes of the dead.
The last village Wusan is about 20 kms from Srinagar.
Ramradhan is the first pilgrimage centre about 5 kms
from Wusan. Then the journey begins to Yamhear which is about
6-kms away. It is a steep ladder-like path and perhaps that is
why it is called Yamhear (Lord Yama`s ladder).
The route is dotted with several other lakes and
temples. There is the black water lake known as Bramsaar,
Sukhnag, a hot water lake, and Dukhnag where pilgrims take
The return journey is from a different route via
Narannag on the banks of a rivulet called Krenk nadi where
beautiful temples are located.
Larakota king Laltaditya Muktapida had expanded and
beautified the Jyestha and Bhutesha temples at Narannag.
An annual festival will also take place at Gangbal on
the occasion of Ganga ashtami, a spokesman said.