Shri Amaranth is one of the most holy places in India and this article is meant as Sri Amarnath yatra guide for people who are looking forward to visit this holy shrine. It has a huge religious significance. It is said that if you visit this shrine then you can get rid of sins and attain moksha. The Amaranth is associated with Lord Shiva.
Amarkatha: The Immortal Story
It is said that in these caves Lord Shiva narrated the story of immortality to his wife goddess Parvati. This story is called Amar Katha. The lord ensured that no human was around when he told the story to his wife. This is exactly why he selected this secluded cave that no one would ever visit. A shepherd boy called Buta Mallik had discovered these caves. He was also able to locate a Shivling inside the caves. The shivling is made of ice. The shivling is naturally made as no man could reach that height and made a shivling of ice. It is formed by the water that pours through the cave walls. It is said that the lord himself is present in the form of the shivling. The size of the shivling changes with the moon’s cycle. Meaning in the full moon night it is hugest and at no moon night it shrinks into nothing. This is exactly why people consider it as a spot of huge religious importance. Since his discovery these became a great place of religious importance and every year thousands of devotees from India and abroad visit this shrine and offer prayers.
The Exotic Location
Many people want to visit this holy place but due to lack of information, they feel that the journey is impossible whilst it is not so in actual, though it is certainly a bit arduous, as explained in this Amarnath yatra guide.
The caves are located at a whopping height of fourteen thousand feet. The cave at some places is very high and at some places it is too low. The cave is one hundred and thirty feet long. They are in the northern most part of the country. It is about one hundred and forty five kilometres fromSrinagar and forty five kilometres from Srinagar.
Best Time To Visit
You can visit these caves between the months of July and August only. Other time of the year the roads are covered with snow and it is impossible to go there. It is located in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir. Every year the government of Jammu and Kashmir arranges for an Amaranth yatra.
You have to register yourself in order to e a part of this yatra. Even in those days when Kashmir was under the influence of terror attack many devotees would still go to the Amaranth caves. Some would even die due to terror attacks still the spirit of the devotees would not get affected.
Almost all Hindus try to visit the Amaranth at least once in their lifetime. There are two routes to reach the caves. The older one is from Pahalgam. This takes about four days for a person to reach the caves. Another route which is comparatively new is from Baltal. This takes a day’s time. No matter which route you take you will have to walk till the caves. There are no other options to reach there. There is no possibility to have a road or anything else in this route.
Let us guide you through the route of Amaranth yatra from Pahalgam. Well in the first day the trek is about twelve kilometres through Chandanwari. In this valley there is a mountain peak that is called Sheshnag. This is because they look like this mythological snake that lord Shiva would have around his neck all the time. The second night will be a camp at Wavjan this overlooks the Sheshnag lake and the glaciers.
The third day the trek will take you to Panchtarni. The landscape is just breathtakingly beautiful. On the last day morning you will have to walk about six kilometres to reach the caves. You will have to wait a in a queue as there will be many people waiting for darshan. The caves are narrow so not many people can enter at the same time. All the devotees do puja of the Shivling in this cave and offer prayers. The same route is followed for the return too.
The second route is from Baltal. This is near Sonmarg from here the caves is a day’s walk. You can also hire ponies or porters as the route is through steep mountains. This road as the previous one is definitely not suggested in rains and winters. You will get clean food and tea at various points on this route. There is no Amaranth yatra that the government arranges here. You can do this on your own. At the end of the journey you will join the same route that the devotees take from Pahalgam. The route of return is the same. You can come back the very next day after darshan. If you want you can sit and relax along the road like other devotees.
Well if you want to do this trek and visit the famous Amaranth caves. Then ensure that you get yourself medically tested before. You will have to be medically and physically absolutely fit in order to reach these caves. The medical report must be given to the authorities arranging the Amaranth yatra before you are registered for the same. You will have to carry a lot of woollen clothes like jackets, sweaters, blankets, caps, etc. The temperature in these areas can get very low. You must carry good boots or shoes, tents and torch must be carried too. Money can help you only till Pahalgam as beyond that there are no hotels. You must have your ID proof with you. If you are a foreign national then do carry your passport with you.
You can reach Srinagar by bus, trains and even flights. Srinagar is well connected from all cities in India. You must book your tickets in advance as there is always a huge rush of tourists during July and August. From Srinagar by bus you can reach Baltal or Pahalgam. Here you can register yourself for the Amaranth yatra.
Few Tips for Travellers
The terrain is steep. The altitude is very high. It is not possible for people to cover more than twelve kilometres a day. Try to keep minimal luggage with you. You can only carry the things that are necessary. You will get all the things that you might need to do the puja at the Amaranth caves itself. Ensure that you are mentally and physically prepared for it. This journey is definitely not possible for old people. We would not suggest this Amaranth yatra to even small kids. The oxygen level at these heights is lower than what we live in. This is exactly why people with breathing problem should not take up this journey at all. Try to keep the food intake and water intake at the lowest possible. Too much of food and water might make it difficult for you to finish the trek.
These are all the points that you must keep in mind before you plan the Amaranth yatra. It is a tough one indeed but not impossible as explained in this guide. It is not possible for all. However, if you have the devotion and if you are physically fit then you can definitely do this trip. This is definitely a huge spiritual experience that everyone must feel at least once in a life time. Apart from religious importance if you are a nature lover then the beauty that you will spot in this trek is unseen in any other part of the world.