Situated in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is the famous Amarnath Ji Cave. About 67 km from Srinagar, Shri Amarnath is considered as one of the most adored pilgrimages in Hinduism. The religious Yatra is organized every year by the government of Jammu and Kashmir in July and August.
Every year the Amarnath Yatra is attended by thousands of devotees, who wish to get on this holy pilgrimage once in their lifetime. Situated at a height of 12,756 feet, the holy yatra to Amarnath Ji will make you pass through some spectacular paths of the Himalayas, and is a journey for your mind, body and soul. The sacred ice Shivalingam that forms inside the Cave and then gradually melts away, is truly a wonder.
Even though the Yatra is quite challenging but the pilgrims put in a lot of effort and devotion to complete the holy journey. If you are planning to go on Amarnath Yatra in 2019, then this blog is for you. Take a look at this travel guide that contains almost all the details from registration to alternative routes for Darshan which you can follow to make your yatra as accessible and simple as possible.
Mark the Starting and Ending Dates of the Yatra
Every year, Amarnath Yatra begins in the month of July and continues till September. It coincides with the auspicious Hindu month of Shravana- the month dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the year 2019, as decided by the Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the custodian of the holy cave of Shri Amarnath Ji, the Yatra has started from 1st July and will continue till 15th August. The trek to the holy cave is around 45 km and generally takes around 3-5 days, one side, depending on the weather conditions, physical fitness, medical conditions, etc. while the duration is usually lesser if the pilgrim travels by Helicopter, train or bus.
Mandatory Medical Fitness Examination
From 2013 onwards, it is mandatory for each pilgrim to undertake a medical examination before starting Yatra to prove his/her fitness. This medical certificate can only be issued by registered doctors and authorized institutions, the details of which are provided by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Without this, you will not be allowed to go ahead. It is compulsory even for those taking a helicopter ride. As per the guidelines issued by the special committee formed by Supreme Court in 2013, children below the age of 13, senior citizens above the age of 75 years and ladies who are more than six weeks pregnant are barred from taking the pilgrimage due to medical reasons and arduous nature.
Registration Process for the Yatra
The Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB) regulates the registration process for the pilgrims by issuing a “Yatra Permit” with the help of authorized, diverse branches and banks all over India. These banks and branches issue the Yatra Permit of Amarnath Ji based on the details provided by the applicant. Here are some important steps that need to be followed while registering:
• One Yatra Permit (YP) for one pilgrim only.
• To get the permit, each pilgrim has to mandatorily submit the application form together with the health certificate. The application form and required health certificate is available online as well as can be obtained from the selected bank branches free of cost.
• Before applying for the permit, each pilgrim must have the following documents:
- Filled application form.
- Four Passport sized photographs.
- Identity proof like Voter ID, Driving License, Passport, etc.
- Medical fitness certificate from a doctor authorized by SASB.
Routes for Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra:
There are two routes to reach Shri Amarnath Ji. The old yet long route via Pahalgam and the short route from Baltal. The Pahalgam route is 90 kilometers from Srinagar and 47 km from the holy cave. One has to pass through Chandanwari, Pissu Top, Sheshnag&Panjtarni to reach the holy shrine. Although this route is comparatively longer but easier than the Baltal route. The trek usually takes 3-5 days one way.
Starting from Srinagar, many devotees follow the route that passes through Baltal, Domial, Barari, Sangam and stretches over14 kilometers. allows devotees to take a round trip in 1-2 days. This route is short but comparatively tough because of its sharp rise and it is usually avoided by the older and sick people. Ponies are not allowed on this route due to safety reasons.
How to Reach Base Camps- Baltal and Pahalgam
One can easily reach Srinagar, either by road or air and from Srinagar one can reach to Baltal or Pahalgam base camps by road. The Baltal route goes through Sonamarg. Helicopter rides are available from Baltal-Panjtarni-Baltal and Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam and the remaining 6 km distance can be covered by trekking.
Essential Things To Carry
- Woolen clothes including cap, gloves, and socks.
- Extra pairs of clothing.
- A wind-stopper, a raincoat, umbrella, and a torch.
- Sleeping Bag, waterproof boots or shoes.
- Important medicines like Aspirin and other pain relievers or pills, portable oxygen can, medical kit, etc. for any medical emergencies.
Things To Keep in Mind
- As Amarnath Yatra requires pilgrims to go fairly high up in altitude, they are advised to prepare physically in advance so as to let their bodies adapt with high altitude, lowering temperature, and lack of oxygen. Keep yourself physically and mentally fit and don’t let altitude sickness hinder your progress towards the spiritual caves. Drink lots of water, eat well, and take a sound sleep. Don’t rush on the route just to finish it early, go slow and take necessary breaks.
- Avoid taking drugs or other intoxicants during Yatra.
- Keep yourself away from, oily, fried or greasy food.
- Avoid stopping at places that are marked by a warning sign.
- Do not take shortcuts as they can be dangerous.
So, if you are looking for a satisfying experience that would rejuvenate your mind, body and soul, a visit to this divine shrine should surely be on your bucket list. Before embarking on this remarkable journey, keep your physical stamina along with faith and belief at an all-time high and follow these instructions carefully while planning your itinerary.
MyOxy wishes you all a Wonderful Yatra!