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iXiGOers Apr 22 2013

What all should I know about Amarnath Yatra 2013?

Abhishek Sharma Apr 22 2013
7 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

One of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, Amarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated east of Srinagar in Kashmir, the cave is home to a Shiva Linga made of ice, known to change its size every season. This Linga is said to reach its maximum size on the full moon day of the Shravan month of the Hindu calendar, from July to August. Since the cave is nestled in the Himalayas and it witnesses snowfall for most part of the year, the cave is open to tourists and pilgrims only during the months of July and August.

The yatra to Amarnath takes place every year, this year it is from 28th June to 21st August. This much revered shrine requires a strenuous trek from either Baltal or Chandanwari (16 km away from Pahalgam). For the trek, you will first have to register with the official Amarnath Yatra Registration Counters. Registration opens on 18th March 2013. This year onwards, you need a compulsory Health Certificate from appointed doctors which declares you physically fit for the Yatra.

The phase 1 of your journey to Amarnath requires reaching the base camp to start the trek. The nearest airport is Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir. Pahalgam is 94 km from Srinagar, while Baltal is 59 km from here. The nearest railhead is Jammu, 315 km from Pahalgam and around 400 km from Baltal. Srinagar and Jammu are also connected by road to nearby cities via buses, taxis etc.

Option 1: From Pahalgam to Amarnath cave

After reaching Pahalgam, rest for the night to start afresh the next day. The base camp is at Chandanwari, 16 km from Pahalgam, from where the trek starts. This 5 day (34 km) trek to Amarnath is via Pissu Top, Sheshnag and Panchtarni. During trek, you have to camp for two nights, first at Sheshnag (Wawjan) and then at Panchtarni, before you proceed to see the cave at Amarnath. The trek is quite steep and follows the banks of a stream near Sheshnag. The route to the cave is picturesque especially at the Sheshnag halt which overlooks the Sheshnag lake.

If you want to cut short the trek and complete it in a day in place of 5, then take a helicopter from Pahalgam to Panjtarni. If you plan to go by helicopter, it is advisable to get your choppers booked in advance as they tend to sell out pretty quickly. Here is who you will need to contact for the same:

Himalayan Heliservices Pvt Ltd

Address: 104, 7 LSC, Madangir, New Delhi

Telephone: +91-11-41649358/59/60

Website: http://www.himalayanheli.com/#sthash.Q57yAbJZ.dpuf

Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd

Address: Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi

Telephone: +91-99686-86811/22

Website: www.pawanhans.nic.in#sthash.Q57yAbJZ.dpuf

The cost for a round trip by Helicopter is INR 4800 per adult, children below 13 years and people above 75 years of age are not allowed to take the Amarnath Yatra 2013.

Option 2: From Baltal to Amarnath Cave

The trek from Baltal to Amarnath is 14 km. Baltal can be reached from Jammu via Udhampur, Patnitop, Kud, Ramban, Banihal, Kazi Gund, Anantnag and Srinagar, through buses and taxis available at the Tourist Reception Centre, J & K or at the bus stand. Another way to reach is to come by road from Srinagar (60 km away).

The route from Baltal to the cave can be covered on foot/ponies via Domail, Barari Marg and Sangam. Dandies are also available for handicapped and old aged pilgrims. The route is steeper and narrower as compared to the Pahalgam-Amarnath route but pilgrims can complete the whole trek in almost a day and return back to Baltal base camp. This route is popular given the shorter distance. To know about the rates of Pony, Dandi and Tent accommodation etc at Baltal, click here.

You can also take a helicopter from Baltal to Panchtarni, which costs INR 3000 for a round trip. Children below 13 years and people above 75 years of age are not allowed to take the Amarnath Yatra 2013.

All the trekkers should remember to carry warm clothing, tough shoes, food, water, and emergency medicines. The route to the cave is arduous due to the unpredictable weather and rocky terrain.

Vaishali Singh Jul 09 2013
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Here's some additional information pertaining to Amarnath Yatra 2013:

  1. The government has made efforts to provide three kinds of Healthcare Facilities at various points on the Yatra, namely Medical Aid Centres (Type A), Base Camp Hospitals (Type B) and Emergency Aid Centres (Type X).
  2. You can also opt to stay at a Government facilitation when in Jammu and Kashmir for the yatra. You can find a list here.
  3. Efforts have been made to keep the weather on the Yatra route updated for the sake of Yatris. You can take a look at the updated weather here, before starting your journey.

We hope you have a safe yatra!

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