Amarnath Yatra is often a tedious task for the first time pilgrims and they face problems due to lack of information. While we have tried to provide all necessary information, there are many queries which require the involvement of Authorities and/or NGOs involved in the Yatra.
Jammu Office(November to April)
Shri Amarnath Shrine Board
Talab Tillo, Jammu
Pin Code: 180002
Phone No. : +91-191-2569910, 2503399,2501679
Tele Fax :+91-191-2503399
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Srinagar Office (May to October)
Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board
K-Villa Sohravardi House, Shivpora, SRINAGAR
Pin Code: 190004
Phone No. : +91-194-2501679, 2468250
Tele Fax : +91-194-2501679
Mobile Numbers: 9469722210
The Route to Amarnath Cave can be significantly covered by Helicopters. These Choppers operate from Pahalgam and Baltal to Panchtarni. Pilgrims have to cover the 6km distance from Panchtarni to the Holy Cave by foot or pony or porter.
These Helicopters are operated by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board in association with several private players. A Two way Helicopter Trip from Pahalgam/Baltal alone would cost around ₹3000 (or $50). Pilgrims can also opt for one way trip by Helicopter for ₹1500.
Several Tourist Operators offer Helicopter Packages which are inclusive of value added services like Accommodation, Food, Road Transport, Yatra Permits etc. These are priced higher (as much as ₹20000) and are generally advertised as Helicopter Packages. Pilgrims are advised to carefully read the package descriptions before booking any Helicopter Service.
Online Helicopter Booking
The Helicopter Bookings for Amarnath Yatra normally commence in April every year. There are many websites which offer online booking for Helicopter. A List of Tour Operators would be updated once Shri Amarnath Shrine Board announces commencement for Helicopter Bookings.
The Yatra via Baltal is the Shortest Route to Holy Amarnath Cave and many pilgrims prefer to proceed via Baltal Base Camp. The Distance of Amarnath Cave from Baltal is just 14 km and pilgrims usually take 2 days to visit the shrine and return back. Compared to this, the Pahalgam Route takes 5 days.
Baltal is 113 km from Srinagar, the summer capital city of Jammu & Kashmir state of India. The Journey from Srinagar to Baltal passes via romantic hill station of Sonamarg. Baltal just 15 km north of Sonamarg on the Sind River at the base of Zojila pass. Baltal is one hour away from Sonmarg on a taxi or a bus. It can also be reached from Pahalgam, 24 km away, in about 45 minutes. For hikers, it takes around 5 hours to reach Baltal from Pahalgam.
Baltal – Domail – Barari -Sangam- Holy Cave
Baltal: At an Altitude of 2743 m, Baltal is the most preferred base camp for pilgrims who want to reach Amarnath Cave in lesser time. It provides with pitched tents to pilgrims for overnight accommodation.
Domail and Barari: These are intermediate stops for pilgrims with refreshment and other basic facilities. They have unknown religious importance.
Sangam: It is located a near Panchtarni (place) and is the confluence of Panchtarni and Amaravati River. This is where the routes of Yatris from Pahalgam and Baltal Base Camp intersect and join together. The Holy Amarnath Cave is 3km from Sangam. Pilgrims usually proceed by taking a holy dip in the confluence of rivers.
Amarnath Cave: Located 3km from the Sangam is the Holy Amarnath Cave. Pilgrims return back to Sangam within hours after having the Darshan and offering prayers to Shri Amarnath ji. They can proceed to Baltal immediately.
Caution: While it is a shorter route to Amarnath Cave, this route is steeper and narrower due to which pilgrims have to walk cautiously while crossing ice bridges across mountain streams. It is recommended only for those who are physically fit. Ponies and Porters are also available from Baltal.
Some enthusiastic Pilgrims start from Baltal Base Camp, visit the cave and return back within 24 hours.
The Amarnath Yatra is one of the most sacred Religious Trips for Hindus. Traditionally the Holy Amarnath Cave is reached by Pahalgam Base Camp. The Amarnath Shrine is just 45 km from Pahalgam and it usually takes 4-5 days to visit the Shrine and return back to Pahalgam.
A Shorter and a bit dangerous route to the Amarnath Cave is Baltal Route.
Pahalgam is 96km from Srinagar and 315km from Jammu. The Nearest Airport is Srinagar while the nearest Railway Station in Jammu. Taxis and Buses are available both from Jammu and Srinagar.
Pahalgam – Chandanwari – Pissu Top – Sheshnag – Panchtarni – Holy Cave
Pahalgam: The Town of Pahalgam is part of Anantnag District of Jammu & Kashmir. It is located on the banks of Lidder River at an altitude of 7200 ft. from sea level. It is a popular tourist destination, and every year, many tourists visit Pahalgam. Besides tourist huts, several hotels in private sector have come up here and these hotels provide modern facilities to their guests.
Chandanwari: The Base Camp for Amarnath Yatra is located 16 km from the town of Pahalgam at a place called Chandanwari (2,895m MSL). The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by a Car or Bus. The route runs along the Lidder River with a fabulous scenic view. There are many Langars (Community Food Courts) that offer food to the Yatris (Pilgrims).
Pissu Top: From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible only by foot or by pony. After 3 km comes the high peak known as Pissu Top, which is also of Religious Significance. It is said to be the site of a legendary battle between the Devas (Gods) and Rakshasas (Demons).
Sheshnag: About 11 km from Pissu Top is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m above MSL) It is usually the second overnight halt for Pilgrims. Sheshnag has seven peaks nearby and as per beliefs the seven peaks resemble the seven heads of Snake God, who accompany Lord Shiva. Also in nearby is Sheshnag Lake where pilgrims take holy bath.
Panchtarni: Panchtarni is located about 13km from Sheshnag. This place is famous for confluence of rivers and is usually the last halt en-route the holy Amarnath Cave. Pilgrims have to cross Mahagunas Pass in order to reach Panchtarni. The Mahagunas Pass is at 14000 ft or 4276 m above MSL. From there a descent leads to Panchtarni valley.
Amarnath Cave: After 6km from Panchtarni one reaches Amarnath Cave. Usually Pilgrims leave from Panchtarni in the morning, take a dip at the Sangam(confluence of Rivers) and reach the Holy Cave. The Last 1km to the cave has to be accessed by Foot and Ponies are not allowed.
Return Trip: After the Darshan (view of Shivlinga accompanied by Prayers), Pilgrims can return back to Panchtarni on the same day. Some stay overnight at Panchtarni while few enthusiastic Pilgrims reach Sheshnag on the same day.