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
Amarnath Yatra is highly enduring, tedious and tough pilgrimage which requires a significant level of Fitness. Additionally Pilgrims must be in good health, alert and prepared for any tough and unforeseen situation. We present some useful and important travel Tips as suggested by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.
- Prepare for the Yatra by achieving a high level of Physical Fitness. You are advised to start at at least a month prior to the Yatra at least a 4-5km Morning/Evening walk. For Improving the oxygen efficiency of your body, you should start doing deep breathing exercises and Yoga, particularly Pranayam.
- Your journey shall involve trekking across high mountains, facing strong cold winds. You must carry (i) adequate woolen clothing; (ii) a small umbrella (preferably one which is tied with an elastic band around your head and supported by a strap around the chin); (iii) windcheater; (iv) raincoat; (v) waterproof trekking shoes; (vi) torch; (vii) walking stick; (viii) cap (preferably a monkey cap); (ix) gloves; (x) jacket; (xi) woolen socks; (xii) trousers (preferably a waterproof pair). These items are essential as the climate is highly unpredictable and changes abruptly from sunny weather to rain and snow. The temperature can sometimes abruptly fall to 5 degrees Celcius or lower.
- For Ladies: saree is not a suitable dress for the Yatra. Salwar Kameez, pant-shirt or a track suit will be better. Ladies who are more than 6 week pregnant shall not be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage.
- Keeping in view the tough nature of the trek, children below 13 year in age and elderly persons above the age of 75 years shall not be permitted to undertake the pilgrimage.
- It would be better if the porter / horses / ponies carrying your luggage travel just in front or behind you, as you may suddenly need something from your baggage.
- During the Yatra from Pahalgam/Baltal onwards, you should keep spare clothes/ eatables in a suitable waterproof bag to ensure against their getting wet.
- Carry a water bottle, dry fruits, roasted grams/channa, toffees/gur (jaggery), chocolates, etc for use during the journey.
- Carry some cold cream/Vaseline/sunscreen to protect your hands /face against sunburn etc.
- You should not trek alone. Always travel in a group and ensure that all those comprising the group, walking in front of you or in the rear, always remain in your sight, to ensure against your being separated from them.
- To enable prompt action being taken in case of any emergency, you should keep in your pocket a note containing the name/addresses/mobile telephone number of a member of your group with whom you are travelling. You must also carry your Yatra Permit and any other identity card.
- On your return journey, you must leave the Base Camp along with all members of your group. In case any member of your group is missing you must seek immediate assistance of the Police and also have an announcement made on the Public Address System at the Yatra Camp.
- You should provide all possible help to your fellow Yatris, travelling with you, and perform the pilgrimage with a pious mind.
- You must strictly follow the instructions issued by the Yatra administration, from time to time.
- Earth, water, air, fire and sky are integral parts of Lord Shiva. The Base camp and the entire Yatra routes are the abode of Shri Amarnathji. Throughout your pilgrimage you must respect the environment and do nothing to pollute it.
- All waste materials must be placed in the nearest dustbin. All organic wastes must be put in the dustbin which is green coloured.
- Lavatories/ urinals, installed in the camps and other places enroute the Holy Cave, should be used.
Apart from these, Pilgrims must adhere to basic precautionary measures for their own safety. SASB has issued a list of DON’Ts for Yatris.
- Don’t stop at places which are marked by warning notices.
- Don’t use slippers because there are steep rises and falls on the route to the Holy Cave. Only wear trekking shoes with laces.
- Don’t attempt any short cuts on the route as doing so would be dangerous.
- Don’t do anything during your entire forward/return journey which could cause pollution or disturb the environment of the Yatra area. Use of plastics is strictly banned in the State and is punishable under law.
Pilgrims can register online or through Banks for Amarnath Yatra 2014 starting from March 1st. The Registration process has not yet been announced by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board.
In 2013, the process of registration was semi-online while in 2012, it was completely online. Hence until the details are announced by Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, not much can be said about it.
Except for those by Helicopters, only 7500 Yatris would be allowed per day per route basis this year. Unlike as in 2013, the Yatra Permits for 2014 Yatra will be in different colors for each day and each route.
In 2013, Pilgrims were required to download the Application Form and the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC). After getting it filled they had to submit the filled documents to the Registration offices made at various banks and pay Rs 30 towards the Registration Fee. These Registration Office would in turn register the pilgrims online and issue yatra permits. The List of Registration Centers for Amarnath Yatra 2013 is available here. On the Spot Registration for Pilgrims was also available on in Jammu. For 2014, there has been no change in the format of Compulsory Health Certificate.
In 2012, there was complete online Registration through the website of J&K Bank.
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.