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Amarnath Fast Facts
- State: Jammu & Kashmir
- District: Anantnag
- Famous for/as: Pilgrimage
- Religions: Hindu
- Altitude: 3680 mts
- Language: Dogri, Kashmiri, Hindi
- Best Season: Mid June to September
- Weather: Summer: 40 - -5 C Winter: 24 - -15 C
- Clothing: Heavy woollens with over coats & sports shoes.
- Local Transport:
- Pincode: 192126
- STDCode: 01936
JKTDC Tourist Reception Centre,
Veer Marg, Jammu, Tel: (0191)
JKTDC Tourist Reception Centre,
Tel: (0194) 2472449/2452691/92,
Amarnath, India Overview
Located in one of the world’s most incredible landscapes of Lidder Valley in Kashmir, the cave shrine of Shri Amarnath is situated at an altitude of 3680 mts. Flanked by breathtaking snow-clad capped peaks, this Shiva shrine provides a wonderful opportunity to soak in the sacred energies of the Himalayas.
Each year in the month of Shravan (July-August) when the moon is full, thousands of yatris, as pilgrims are called, congregate here to worship a naturally formed ice Lingam, symbol of Lord Shiva.
The waxing and waning of the Lingam with the moon has remained a world marvel. According to popular belief it reaches the maximum height on the puranmashi (full moon) of Shravan which is the main day for Darshan.
There are 2 major routes which can be taken in order to reach the holy cave
1. The first route begins from Pahalgam and covers a distance of 47 kms. The route to follow is Pahalgam - Nunwan- Chandanwari (16 kms) - Pissu Top (3 kms) - Sheshnag (9kms) - Panchtarni (13 kms) - Amarnath Cave (6kms). There are only a few cities where one can stay while on the route and they are Pahalgam, Seshnag, Panchtarni and near the holy cave as well. Pilgrims can take the Palanquin (Rs 7,000), pony (Rs 2,300) and porters (Rs 1,100) to and fro between Chandanwari and the holy cave.
2. The trek on this route begins from Baltal and the total distance to the Amarnath Cave is around 15 kms. The route to be followed is Baltal-Domail-Baragi-Sangam-Holy cave. There is no accommodation available and this trek can be undertaken in a single day. Also please note that in spite of being shorter this route is very steep and often prone to landslides. Alternatively on the route from Baltal, pilgrims can hire Ponies (Rs 1,100), Palanquins (Rs 3,500) and porters (Rs 700). Please note that at the Baltal base camp your phone might not work but there are many telephone booths available that are connected via satellites.
3. Helicopter services are also available for reaching Amarnath. The pickup point is Baltal takes the pilgrims to the holy cave for the pooja and darshan, which takes almost an hour, and brings back the pilgrim to Baltal. Helicopters can be taken from Pahalgam as well. The cost of the chopper is Rs 2,425/- from Baltal and Rs. 3,800 from Pahalgam, per person. Children below 12 years are charged with half the price of the adult. Helicopter land at Panjtarni which is around 4 km from Amarnath and from here tourists need to continue their journey via trekking or hiring ponies or palanquin.
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Must See Places in Amarnath, India
Amarnath, India History
The Amarnath Cave has been a place of worship since times immemorial. There are references to one Aryaraja (32BCE-17CE) who used to worship a lingam formed of Ice in Kashmir. The book Rajatarangini (Book VII v.183) refers to Amareshwara or Amarnath. It is believed that Queen Suryamathi in the 11th century AD gifted trishuls, banalingas and other sacred emblems to this temple. Rajavalipataka, begun by Prjayabhatta has detailed references to the pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave. Other than this there are further references to this pilgrimage in many other ancient texts.
It is believed that after the middle ages, this cave was forgotten by people before it was discover by a shepherd in the 15th century once again. However there are many stories about the discovery of this cave. One story states that once a Gujjar (Shepherd) named Buta Malil was given a bag full of coal by a holy man. When he reached home, he found that the bag contained not coal, but gold coins. Overjoyed he ran back to the place where the he had met the Holy man. However the holy man had disappeared and Buta Malik instead discovered the cave and the Lingam.
Another story relates to Bhrigu Muni. Long time ago it is believed that The Vale of Kashmir was submerged under water and Kashyapa Muni drained it through a series of rivers and rivulets. Therefore when the waters drained, Bhrigu Muni was the first to have Darshan of Lord Amarnath. Thereafter, when people heard of the Lingam, it became an abode of Lord Bholenath for all believers and a pilgrimage which is done by lacs of people each year.