Amarnath

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"A haven for pilgrims."

Amarnath Tourism

Amarnath, located in union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most important pilgrimage in India for the worshippers of Lord Shiva. The Amarnath cave has an enshrined Shivaling formed naturally with ice, which resembles Lord Shiva.

Amarnath is visited by millions of tourists every year from all across the world for a challenging mountainous trek called 'Amarnath Yatra'. Legend has it that, this place is regarded to be the same cave where Lord Shiva revealed the secret of life and eternity to Goddess Parvati.

Amarnath Cave is accessible only during the Sharavan months of July-August. There are two routes available for undertaking the Amarnath Yatra - via Baltal or Pahalgam. The Baltal route, though shorter, has a steeper trekking route. The Pahalgam route is longer but is generally preferred by most of the devotees. It usually takes 3-5 days to reach Amarnath from the base point. Helicopter services are now available by private operators on both these routes. The devotees need to make advance bookings and get registered to undertake the holy pilgrimage to Amarnath.

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Must Know Before You Visit Amarnath

  • The Baltal route (Jammu - Baltal - Domail - Barari - Holy Cave) is 14km  and takes 1-2 days. This route is preferred for returning back.
  • The Pahalgam route (Jammu - Pahalgam - Chandanwari - Pissu Top - Sheshnag - Panchtarni - Holy Cave) is 36-48 km and takes 3-5 days.
  • Pithoo, pony and palkis are available. Check the rates here
  • Helicopter is available from Baltal and Pahalgam to Panjtarni which is 2km from Amarnath Cave. It is a 2-hour walk from Panjatarni to the cave. Palkis are also available.
  • For Amarnath Yatra registeration, every yatri has to submit an application form and a compulsory health certificate (CHC) along with the required documents to obtain the yatra permit. The forms can be downloaded here
  • These forms will also be available free of cost at the registration branch of the bank. Here is the complete list of 446 approved bank branches for 2021 
  • Since 2014, the SASB has also initiated a 'group registration scheme' for yatris intending to travel with friends, family or neighbours. Details of registration for NRIs/ex-yatri have been made available here - http://www.shriamarnathjishrine.com/
  • The registration is INR 100 per yatri/per permit.
  • One yatra permit is valid for registering one yatri only
  • Camps with prefabricated huts are available for overnight stay at Baltal, Nunwan, Sheshnag and Panjtarni. These cost around INR 250-375 per night.
  • Free food, water and refreshment is available along the yatra route. Langars are also set up at various locations.
  • Carry snacks like biscuit, canned food, dry fruits, chocolate, roasted chana, etc
  • BSNL connectivity is available on the yatra route. Pre-loaded yatra sims are provided by BSNL to the yatris for INR 230

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Amarnath Yatra

The Amarnath Yatra takes place once a year for a duration of 45 days, starting from somewhere in July and extending till late August. The Amarnath cave is the holy shrine houses the Shiva Linga, made out of ice (an accumulation of droplets of water that freezes upon touching the floor of the cave). It is this Shiva Linga that devotees come to see and seek blessings from. There is a train route available from most parts of the country to Jammu. It's a total 45 km to traverse; out of which, the first 15 km to Chandanwari can be traversed by a bus in a few hours. The actual trek begins after that and takes anywhere from 2-4 days to reach. There are various means to reach the Amarnath cave; on foot, on horses, or by a helicopter. The entire rendezvous with the ice Shiva Linga does not last more than a few seconds due to a flood of people, but a mesmerizing experience, nevertheless.

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Legend of Amarnath

Amarnath is probably the most popular abode for a pilgrimage trip. What makes a trip up there more valuable is perhaps the numerous mythological and historical stories attached to it. The most popular story is perhaps of the Amarnath cave. It is said, that Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, once questioned him upon the necklace of beads that he used to wear, and what it stood for. Shiva then informed her that each bead stood for a skull that he added to his necklace every time Parvati was reborn. She further questioned him upon the story behind his immortality.

To relay this story (Amar Katha), Shiva found a cave (Amarnath cave) as a perfect spot, which would ensure secrecy. He also created Rudra, who happened to fire up the entire cave in order to make sure that no living being could listen to this tale. It so happened, however, that a pigeon egg was left hidden, and later hatched into a pair of pigeons. It is said that these pigeons became immortal upon hearing the “Amar Katha”. A number of pilgrims have claimed to have seen those pigeons.

Another story, about 700 years ago, tells about the discovery of the Amarnath cave by a shepherd, Buta Malik, who received a bag full of coal from a sage. The bag turned full of gold as soon as he reached home. Overcome with delight, he returned to thank the sage, only to find a cave with a Shiva Linga.

Suggested Itinerary for Amarnath

Day 1- Reach Pahalgam by either a bus ride or a cab from the Jammu Tawi Railway Station. Spend the day at the hotel, soak in the beauty of the snow-capped hills in the scenery and brace yourself for the trek to Amarnath; or you can visit the Sheshnag Lake for a breathtaking view.
Day 2- Take a local bus service to reach Chandanwari, the first stop for the trek to Amarnath. From there, you have the options of either walking and reaching Amarnath after a rough 2 days; or hire a horse for yourself to save your feet the effort. After traveling some 15 km, take a halt, set yourself up at the camps around and indulge in some Bhandara food (which is free of cost) and prepare for the trek next day.
Day 3- Set out for trek again and reach the Amarnath caves for the Darshan. Start for the journey down the valley. Alternatively, you can take a helicopter ride from Baltal (which is near Pahalgam) to Panchtarni, the nearest point where helicopters can land to the Amaranth caves. From Panchtarni, you can take a horse or travel on foot for 10-odd minutes and reach the Amarnath caves. Get over with the Darshan and take the helicopter ride back to Baltal.

Amarnath Photos

Amarnath, Jammu & Kashmir
Amarnath Cave
Baltal
Pahalgam

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FAQs on Amarnath

What is famous about Amarnath?

Mesmerizing scenic beauty. An important pilgrim site for Hindus. Close to some of the best hill stations in J&K.

What is not so good about Amarnath?

The weather is unpredictable; can get extremely chilled; severe snowfall. The paths to trek can be a little dangerous. Avalanches are common. Tricky for physically unfit people and those with medical ailments.

Who should visit Amarnath?

The highlight of this city is a Hindu shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva; Amarnath is the 'it' destination for all pilgrims.

What is the best time to visit Amarnath?

The best time to visit Amarnath is between May to September. During summers, the climate is quite considerable as it ranges between 9-34 degrees, and this might be a good time to enjoy the greenery around Amarnath, although this is not the peak season for tourists. The Amarnath Yatra takes place in July and August making it an ideal time for visitors. During winters, the temperatures drop to a chilly -8 degrees, and the cold gets unbearable hence avoidable.

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What is the local food in Amarnath?

There are absolutely no restaurants in Amarnath. But there are pandals at every nook and corner for the pilgrims to help suffice their food requirements. Few ashrams and Dharamshala has eateries which provides good and quality food.
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What is the best way to reach Amarnath?

The nearest airport to Amarnath is the Srinagar airport. Anyway, the journey commences from Pahalgam which is a bus ride of 2 hours from the airport. The nearest railway station to Pahalgam remains the Jammu Tawi Railway Station. From there, you can reach Amarnath by helicopter, on foot, or by pony rides.
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How much does a package cost for Amarnath?

The packages for Amarnath start at INR 4514 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What are the places near Amarnath?

The top places near to Amarnath are Srinagar which is 66 km from Amarnath, Sonamarg which is located 21 km from Amarnath, Pahalgam which is located 28 km from Amarnath, Manali which is located 270 km from Amarnath, Baltal which is located 9 km from Amarnath

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Popular Questions And Answers on Amarnath

Q. How to visit amaranth

Nibha Chaudhuri

3 years ago
Your major gateways to Amarnath are Baltal and Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir. From these places, you'll have to trek for a couple of days to reach Amarnath. You could rent ponies or palanquins for a (Read More)more comfortable trek. More details can be found in the How to Reach section above.

Amarnath Reviews

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Surbhi Parashar Parashar

3 years ago
- Carry extra food and supplies with you, being at a high altitude and having to suffice to the needs of hordes of pilgrims, facilities are not present at proper intervals.
- Winters are extremely (Read More) cold, proper clothing would be a no-brainer.
- Have a guide with you or make a well researched plan for yourself and only then embark on to your trip.
- Check out the prices of pony rides online first or ask your friends who might have been here earlier. You do not want to be fooled.
- Be in constant touch with family and friends, because this is a highly populated affair during the Shravana months.
- Have proper medication along with you, because this is going to be a highly treacherous and hectic journey.
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