Amarnath Yatra: A travel guide to Hinduism’s holiest pilgrimage

Amarnath Yatra: A travel guide to Hinduism’s holiest pilgrimage

The Amarnath Yatra makes you traverse some stunning paths of the Himalayas, and is quite a journey for your body and soul. This year, the Amarnath Yatra will start on 1 July 2019 and conclude on 15 August 2019.

Yatra route

The Amarnath Cave is located in the Himalayas in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, approximately 140km from the capital Srinagar.

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The 46-day yatra will accommodate more than 3.5 lakh pilgrims (approx. 7,500 per day). Pilgrims can opt for any of the two routes to reach the cave. The traditional route from Pahalgam takes three to five days (46 km) to cover. However, a shorter route (14 km) was opened from Baltal, which can be covered in a single day, but the slope is comparatively steeper.

Amarnath Yatra: Inside the cave

Inside the Amarnath cave is a stalagmite formed due to the freezing of water drops that fall from the roof to the floor, and grows vertically. This is believed to be a Shiva lingam, that waxes from May to August as the snow melts in the Himalayas and gradually wanes thereafter.


Legend has it that the size of the lingam also changes with the phases of the moon. The shrine today is believed to be a testimony of Lord Shiva’s mythical powers, and also the place where he narrated the ‘Amar Katha’ (ode to immorality) to his divine consort, Parvati.

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Facilities for pilgrims

Although there are food stalls to buy stuff, there are langars along the route serving free food to all pilgrims. Hearty meals and clean drinking water for everyone is taken care of.

The langars are present along the trekking route and they cook rice, roti, curries, idlis, dosas. Refreshments are available and they also offer dry fruits and chocolates on your way out. Outside the cave, there is a local bazaar which sells Kashmiri saffron, almonds, apricots, and other goods.

Tips for Amarnath Yatra pilgrims

  • Get medical examinations done to ensure that you are fit to undertake the journey.
  • Children below the age of 13 are not allowed to go forward on this trek, nor are senior citizens above the age of 75 years.
  • The registrations start about a month prior to the yatra, so keep all your paperwork ready.
  • Get all your bookings like accommodation, helicopter rides, etc. done in advance.
  • Mobile phones may not work in the area.

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