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Shri Amarnath Yatra 2019 - Route, Dates and All You Need to Know

The Amarnath yatra route attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year who visit the site during Shravani Mela in July-August (Shravan month in Hindu calendar) - the only time in the whole year when the Amarnath Cave is accessible. The cave is placed at an altitude of 3,888m, about 141 km from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir and reached through Pahalgam town. The shrine has an important part to play in Hinduism and is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The annual 'Amarnath Yatra' is marked by 'Pratham Pujan' which is said to invoke the blessings of Baba Amarnath. It is said that the 'lingum' in the holy cave grows and shrinks with the lunar cycle. Moreover, since the ice is collected from the water dripping from the top of the cave due to the melting of the ice on top of it, the 'lingum' reaches a maximum around July-August when the ice caps around the cave are melting. Water seeps into the rocks that form the cave and progressively fades thereafter. As per the religious beliefs, it has been claimed that the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon reaching its height during the summer festival. 

Legend of Amarnath

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 on it. 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.

Amarnath Yatra 2018 - Dates

The Amarnath Yatra 2018 began on  June 28, 2018  (Skandshasthi) and went on till 26th August Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan). The beginning of the Amarnath Yatra starts with 'Pratham Pujan' to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva. The best and the pleasant part of the yatra is between Guru Purnima and Shravan Purnima. The devotees reach the base camp from where the actual yatra starts. 

The registrations started from March 1, 2018

Amarnath Cave
 Cave Temple of Lord Amarnath 
Source

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.

The Two Routes

The Northern route is 14 km long and is shorter. It is steep, hence difficult to climb. It starts from 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 whole of the route. Aged, sick or people with past history of illnesses are advised to take this yatra 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, Central Government and State Government Police Forces for both security and facilities. Apart from government provided facilities, various non-profit organizations and private companies also place stalls along the way which are the resting camps for the pilgrims. There is a continuous supply of food in these pandals. The overall organization of the yatra, however, is carried out by Shri Amarnath Yatra trust which 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.

Prices likely to differ this year.

A maximum of 5 bookings are allowed against a single debit/credit card. The same card cannot be used for booking for 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.

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 are made available on the official website well in time before the commencement of advance bookings.

No pilgrim/traveller shall be allowed to board the helicopter without submitting a CFC, issued on the specified date. Any CFC issued before/after the specified date will be rendered invalid.

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 Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonamarg.

Tips

Children below 13 years of age and adults above 75 years of age are not allowed, and pregnant women are also not advised to taken this journey. Considering this trek is one of the most challenging tasks, a health certificate has to provided by each individual.

Mahaguna Top, Amarnath Yatra
Mahaguna Top


Gulmarg - Places to visit on the Amarnath Yatra Route
Gulmarg - Places to visit on the Amarnath Yatra Route

This post was published by Holidify.com