On Mount Amarnath, at the farther end of Lidder valley, Kashmir, Northern India. 45km from Pahalgam, 145km from Srinagar. Access from Panchtarni, 6km walk.
: 4,175m (13,700ft).
July To August
The pilgrimage destination of Amarnath shrine is located inside a cave in the Himalayas. The mythological and historical importance of this sacred place according to mythology is the fact that lord Shiva recounted the secret of creation and immortality to the Goddess Parvati in this cave. This secret is of immortality is known as the amar katha and according to legend lord Shiva made sure that no living being was around when he narrated this story to the Goddess Parvati.
According to common legend a shepherd called Buta Malik first discovered this holy cave at Amarnath and ever since, this cave became an important center of pilgrimage for the Hindus.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir organize tours and travel to the Amarnath shrine in Jammu. There is an ice lingam of lord Shiva inside the Amarnath cave. This is supposed to represent the deity. Tours and travel to this shrine in Jammu can be undertaken only after being registered with the authorities.
Kashmir Hub offers details about tours and travel packages for the holy Amarnath yatra in Jammu, Kashmir, India. There are two different ways of reaching the Amarnath shrine. The traditional route passes via Pahalgam, Sheshnag and Panchtarni. The new route is via Baltal. If pilgrims opt to travel by the old route then it takes approximately four days to reach the holy Amarnath Dham. Those who choose to travel by the new route reach the place in a day's time. Most Hindus try to visit this shrine at least once in a lifetime.
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Amarnath stands at 3888 mtrs and 46 Kms from Pahalgam and 141 Kms from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribe that Yatra be undertaken from Srinagar , the more common practice is to begin journey from Chandanwari and cover the distance to Amarnath and back in 5 days. Pahalgam is 96 Kms from Srinagar. the trek from Chandanwari to Cave is on an ancient peregerine route. pilgrims camp at Pahalgam or Chandanwari on the first night out.
The first day's trek of 12 Kms from Chandanwari is through spectacular primeval country side and the main centre of attraction is Sheshnag a mountain which derves its name from seven peaks resembling the head of mythical snake. A cascading stream accompanies you with wild scenery untouched by modern civilzation. The second night camp at Wavjan overlooks the deep blue waters of Sheshnag lake and glaciers beyond it. The tales of love and revenge associated with Sheshnag are recounted by campfires to the stillnes of pine scented Himalyan night.
The second day 12 km trek steadily gains height winding across Mahagunas Pass at 4600 mtrs and then descendeing to the meadow land of Panchtarni the last camp enroute to Amarnath Cave.
From Panchtarni to Amarnath the distance is 6kms and an early morning start is recommended for there is long queue awaitning entry at the cave. The same day devotees after darshans can return to Panchtarni in time for lunch and continue upto Sheshnag for night halt.
The second approach to Amarnath is from Sonamarg via Baltal alt. 3000 mtrs. . Sonamarg is situated on Srinagar-Leh road north east from Srinagar. About 15 kms ahead lies Baltal which is charming little valley lying in the foothills of Zojila Pass. The holy cave is just a days journey from here. At domail 2 kms from Baltal free langar(community Kitchen) facility is available. The trek from here is very steep and therefore needs great caution and care. Some teastalls are available at Brarimarg and Sangam top. Several snow bridges on the fast flwing streams are to be crossed and during rains the road becomes slippery. At sangam top the road meets Pahalgam route. At Baltal Ponies/Dandies/Pack ponies /porters are available on Govt. approved rates.
The nearest Airport is away in Badgam Distt. This Airport is connected with major cities of India. The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu which is 300 Kms away and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with country.Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxis ply on this Highway. It Takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountaineous road which crosses some beautiful spots andthe famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with country.
About the Yatra
The journey of Amarnath is of 141 km from Srinagar, out of which 45 km from Pahalgam has to be covered on foot, is believed to be the holiest of Hindu shrines. The holy cave houses an ice stalagmite, which waxes and wanes with the moon. The annual Amarnath yatra takes place in July and august. The Amarnath Cave is high and shallow and extending up to 130 feet.
Things to Carry for the Trip
You should be mentally and physically fit to go for the trip as the journey includes trekking at a height of 1,4000ft. You should get yourself medically tested before the journey and forward that certificate to the registering authority designated for your area of residence.
You should carry lots of heavy woolens like jackets, sweaters, woolen thermal body warmers, trousers, monkey caps, mufflers, blankets and any other warm items. Among other items you should carry sleeping bags, blankets, windcheaters, raincoats, waterproof shoes with sufficient grips, tents, torch with sufficient batteries and supporting sticks.
You should carry sufficient amount of money for accommodation at Pahalgam and meeting other requirements. You should also posses a registration card.
These are some of the important items you should carry for the holy trip to Amarnath.
The Major Fascination of the Amarnath Cave
One of the most important event during July/ August, is Amarnath Yatra to the Holy Pilgrimage. This is an annual event when thousands of Hindus from different corners of the Globe visit Amarnath caves. The pilgrims trek from Pahalgam to these caves and worship the great ice Lingam.
Arriving At Amarnath Caves
By Air : Indian Airlines had daily flights to Delhi and Srinagar. There are also flights to Bombay, Calcutta, Chandigarh, and Leh. The Indian Airlines office(542-735) is at the Tourist Reception Centre on Vir Marg.
By Rail : The Shalimar Express departs from Delhi at 4.10 pm and arrives in Jammu at 7 am. There are other trains to and from Delhi. From Jammu there are direct trains to Bombay, Calcutta (Jammu Tawi Exp # 3152, daily, 6.15 pm, 46 ½ hr). Most buses leave between 6 and 7 am, in order to arrive before night. A ticket to Srinagar should be booked in advance. There are buses to Delhi (14 hr), Amritsar (5hr), and Pathankot (3 hr). From Pathankot you can get a bus to Dharamshala and
Dalhousie. Deluxe buses depart from the railway station, usually between 6 and 7 am.