The Holy Amarnath Yatra
Every year more than 500,000 devotees make the annual Amarnath Yatra to the holy snow Shiva Linga at Amarnath Temple (Amarnath Cave). This is one of the most important pilgrimage in India and is devoted to lord Shiva. The trek to Amarnath becomes crowded during the July/August full moon with thousands of pilgrims, who go on Amarnath Yatra to see the natural snow lingam in the Amarnath cave, at an altitude of 3,962m/12,998ft.
Amarnath Yatra Route
Most of the pilgrims reach the cave at Amarnath via Pahalgam route. The trek from Pahalgam usually take four days and usual night stays are at the town of Chandanwari (2,900m/9,515ft), Sheshnag (3,720m/12,205ft) after a trek of 26km from Chandanwari and Panchtarni (3,933m/12,904ft) at a distance of 42km from Sheshnag. The holy cave of Amarnath is just 6kms from here and it will take around one and a half hour to reach. Some pilgrims complete the journey by pony, helicopter or palanquin (पालकी).
Inside the main cave is a Shiva Linga that gets covered with hard layer of snow from May to August. Number of pilgrim are on a peak during the Shivrani Festival in July/August and the presence of military can be extremely strong and intense. During yatra season, the tourist office in Pahalgam runs shuttle buses to Chandanwari and makes arrangements for the three-day trek to Amarnath. Ponies costs around Rs 2650 per person and the palanquins costs approx. Rs 10,000.
The final stage involves crossing the Mahagunas pass. After visiting the holy cave, you can either trek back downhill from the same route or can make the more direct descent to Baltal, 8km east of Sonamarg on the Srinagar–Leh road.
Amarnath Yatra Distances
|Srinagar to Pahalgam (by road, starting point of yatra)||
|Chandanwari, Pahalgam to Sheshnag (trek)||
|Sheshnag to Panchtarni (trek)||
|Panchtarni to holy Amarnath Cave (trek)||
|Amarnath to Baltal (trek, descent)||
|Baltal to Srinagar (by road)||
Shri Amarnath Yatra Registration 2017
Please find out the registration form here.
photo credit: sandeepachetan via photopin (license)