Amarnath is one of the most renowned as well as the holiest pilgrimages of India, located in the serene Himalaya hills. The holy shrine of Amarnath which is also known as Amarnath cave is dedicated to Hindu lord Shiva. Dignified as the symbol of Hinduism, it is supposed to be more than 5000 years old.
Inside the cave every year an ice stalagmite takes place naturally, which resembles the holy Shiva linga. It lies between May to August and then gradually it melts thereafter. This ice Shiva Linga is the supreme center of belief amongst devotees.
The sacred Amarnath cave is situated in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located on the beautiful Himalayan hill of Mount Amarnath at a high altitude of 3,888 m which is 141 km from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir state.
There is a very famous legend behind this Amarnath cave, according to which once Lord Shiva was sharing the secret of creation in the Amarnath cave with his better half Parvati. But in spite of their knowledge a pair of pigeons listen their conversation without permission and learned the secret of creation. Since then they (the pair of pigeons) are reborn again and again and have made the cave their abode. Many devotees also have reported to see that pair of pigeons.
Yatra (Travel) Amarnath:
The Amarnath Yatra is organized every year by the Jammu and Kashmir Government during the Shravan (July and August) month. But It may vary every year due to the weather condition and as per the month of Shravan. The darshan (visit) of Baba Amarnath is allowed from full moon day of Hindu month Assard to the full moon day of Shravan.
Every year almost 400,000 pilgrims visit this holy place during the season. Generally the yatra starts from Pahalgam, from where pilgrims cover 42 km long Amarnath trek on foot. This journey takes four to five days, more or less it can be said as Amarnath trekking.
The devotees, basically older age devotees may also take the horse ride to complete the trek. Some rich people or any other who wish to have can also make the journey by helicopter.
There are two paths for the cave, one is longer one from Pahalgam which is more traditional path and other one is from Baltal town which is the shorter route.
From Pahalgam to the holy cave is an ancient Amarnath trek of 45 km distance, which is covered within four to five days. In between the way there are major three night halts - Chandanwari, Sheshnag (Wawjan) and Panchtarni.
The first night camp takes place at Chandanwari, which is 16 km from Pahalgam. The next day trek of 13 km starts from Chandanwari. It is a breathtaking part of the trek, whose most spectacular attraction is Sheshnag. It is a fascinating mountain lake along the breathtaking glaciers.
The second night camp takes place at Wawjan. Then the next day trek of 12 km is a steep route at a height of 4,600 m across the Mahagunas pass, which descends to the lands of Panchtarni, where the last night camp takes place. From Panchtarni to holy cave of Amarnath is a 6 km trek. It is supposed to start early in the morning because of the long queue of devotees awaiting for the entrance of cave.
After darshan devotees can return the same day to Panchtarni till the lunch time. At last the devotees can spend their night at Panchtarni or may continue to Zojibal while returning to Pahalgam.
Transport Services and Facilities:
The State Road Transport Corporation and Private Transport Operators provide the regular services from Jammu to Pahalgam and Baltal. Also a number of Tata Sumo's and Taxis run frequently from Jammu.
Besides Government accommodations are available at Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Jammu, which are governed by J&K Tourism Development Corporation.