Amarnath Cave
 Cave Temple of Lord Amarnath 

Legend of Amarnath

Amanath cave is very beautiful place.for traditional people. The legend says that Lord Shiva had to give in to Goddess Parvati’s demands of knowing the secrets of life and death but he couldn’t risk anyone eavesdropping. So, they set on their way to a cave in the mountains – too difficult to be reached by any lesser person than the gods themselves. The secret was so sacred that all the companions also had to be left behind. So his ride – Nandi, the bull – was left at Pahalgam, the moon atop his head at Chandanwari, the snake around his neck at Lake Sheshnag, the 5 basic elements of life that he carried at Panchtarini and even his son – Lord Ganesha himself – at Mahaguna top. And, now Hindu devotees find themselves en route this perilous mountainous trek every year.

How To Reach Amarnath Yatra Base

The State Transport and the private operators provide bus services from Jammu to Pahalgam and Baltlal. These are the two places from where you start the Amarnath Yatra.

Two Routes to Amarnath

The Northern route is 14 km long and is shorter. It is steep, hence difficult to climb. It starts at Baltal. The longer, easier and more traditional one passes through Srinagar.

The devotees start the Amarnath Yatra from Srinagar or Pahalgam on foot and take one of the two possible routes. The shorter but steeper trek via Baltal, Domial, Barari and Sangam is 14 km long and allows people to take a round trip in 1-2 days. However, ponies are not allowed on this route due to safety reasons. One has to either walk or be carried on ‘Dandies’ (carried on a seat atop shoulders of other people). This Amarnath Yatra route is considered more favourable for returning back from the shrine than on the way up as steep slope is said to cause serious health problems among un-acclimatised visitors. Young, healthy and people looking for adventure amidst the religious trip happen to take this trek.

The longer Amarnath Yatra route via Pahalgam is generally preferred by most of the devotees. The length of the trek varies from 36 to 48 km depending upon the devotion of the pilgrim. The trek usually takes 3-5 days one way. The Amarnath route is much wider than the Baltal trek and slopes gradually. However, one will also find it crowded by ponies for almost the whole of the route.

Amarnath Yatra route through Pahalgam
Amarnath Yatra route through Pahalgam
Source

Both the routes, however, allow for the best possible facilities in the conditions, thanks largely to the efforts of Indian Army. There is a continuous supply of food in these pandals. The overall organization of the yatra, however, is carried out by Shri Amarnath Yatra trustwhich provides for services like telecommunication, power supply, firewood etc. Mobile phones are of no use in the area and it would be wise to leave them behind. Online Helicopter bookings can be made in advance.

Lunch facilities along the Amarnath Yatra Route
Lunch facilities at Poshpathri 
Source

The efforts of the concerned agencies (both government and private) make the trek to Amarnath much easier than what it used to be a few years ago with the lack of any facilities at all. However, despite all the medical support, fair price shops and power utilities, the Amarnath Yatra Route is one of the harshest pilgrim routes in India and takes a toll on many lives every year. To minimize the losses, a compulsory health check-up is carried out for all pilgrims allowing only healthy people to go through. Despite this, the extreme weather, natural disasters and road accidents are frequent. None of this, however, deters the faithful followers of Lord Shiva from taking this perilous journey every year with joy. 

Amarnath Yatra In Helicopter

Starting Point: Baltal helipad

For Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam route

Provider name and website:

Himalayan Heli Services Pvt. Ltd – www.himalayanheli.com

Price: One-way ticket fare on this route- INR 2950 per person.

Starting Point: Pahalgam helipad

Timings for all rides are according to service providers and should be strictly adhered to.

A maximum of 5 bookings is allowed against a single debit/credit card. The same card cannot be used for booking for the next 3 weeks. The debit/credit card used for booking should be reproduced at the time of issuing a boarding pass.

Safety:
For safety purposes, children below 13 years, elderly aged above 75 years and ladies more than 6 weeks pregnant are not allowed to undertake the pilgrimage.

Journey to The Cave From the Drop-off:

There is the option of hiring a Palki as they will take you to the cave directly. Pony rides are available too but they will drop you off 2 kms before reaching the cave as the terrain gets a slight slope. 

Requirements:
All pilgrims/travellers intending to avail helicopter services for Amarnath Yatra are required to furnish a Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC) for each individual, duly issued by authorised doctors/institutions, as per instructions laid down by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB). The list of authorized doctors/institutions is made available on the official website well in time before the commencement of advance bookings.



Night stay camp on Amarnath yatra route
Night stay camp on Amarnath yatra route

The Amarnath Yatra, however, is not just a spiritual tour. The nearby places are equally tempting tourist attractions to even the most non-religious among us. Kashmir was once called the ‘Paradise on earth’ by Amir Khusro and rightly so. Some of the must-visit places that you can undertake in one trip include the likes of SrinagarGulmarg and Sonamarg.

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