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Amarnath Yatra: As tough as it is interesting… a trek up to a height of 12,500 feet

Nita Yadav

By Nita Yadav

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Amarnath Yatra will continue till August 19

Jai Baba snow, food for the hungry, water for the thirsty… Amarnath cave sightings at a height of 12 thousand 500 feet started from June 29 this year and will continue till August 19. There is great curiosity in people’s minds about Amarnath Yatra which is held every year. Also people are very curious to know about it. How is the travel, how to get there, how are the arrangements, how difficult is the travel, how is the weather…etc. Many such questions are arising in people’s minds. They also collect information on their own. This time I did Amarnath Yatra and also visited Baba Barfani in the holy cave. Through this article, I will present my experiences and also try to answer the questions that come to my mind regarding this difficult and rare journey.

Amarnath Cave is located in Pahalgam in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. The journey to the cave is very difficult. However, a lot of effort is put into making this yatra a success, all arrangements are made to make everyone’s yatra a success. The journey takes around 45 to 50 days during the summer months every year. Thousands and millions of people do this pilgrimage. The Yatra is organized by the Government in collaboration with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

Registration begins before the tour

Advance registration is required for this tour, which begins 2 to 2.5 months prior to the tour. The registration started in the month of April this year. The sooner you register, the sooner your journey begins. People insist that they get a chance to have darshan early, because later Baba Barfani starts melting. This time also by July 6, the Shivling had dissolved. But before that we got a chance to see. If we talk about registration, then before that medical test is also done. You can get your medical test done by going to district government hospital only when registration starts. A separate arrangement has also been made for this in the hospital. After this you can register online or by going to the bank, from there you will get the date of travel. Online registration can be done by visiting jksasb.nic.in. There is also a list of banks you can go to for registration.

Amarnath Yatra 2024

There are 2 ways to travel. One is Pahalgam and the other is Baltal. At the time of registration, you have to choose which route to reach the cave. The cave is 32 km from Pahalgam and 14 km from Baltal. The distance from Baltal to Gufa is short and most people prefer this route, but it is considered more difficult than the Pahalgam route. We did our journey from Pahalgam, so the same will be detailed here. Information about alternate routes will also be provided.

From accommodation to food, the arrangement is excellent.

You can reach Jammu 1-2 days before the date shown on your travel slip. Your journey will proceed from Jammu. If you reach Jammu by train, you can take the RFID from the camp near the station. You should keep it around your neck throughout the journey. After taking the RFID you will proceed to Bhagwati Nagar in Jammu which is the base camp. After reaching here you have to spend whole day here. Here you have to go through strict security checking. There is excellent passenger accommodation here. There are both AC and non-AC halls, where you can stay with a mattress and pillow. Here arrangements have been made from toilet to bath. Thousands of tourists stay here. Food arrangements have also been made here for the passengers. You don’t have to spend any money on food. Throughout the journey, wherever there are camps, there are food anchorages, which means you don’t have to spend anything on food. Different langars at each place have different types of food.

Amarnath Cave

The cost of staying in the hall is also very low. Apart from this you can also return the mattress and pillow and get your money back. From here passengers are taken to Pahalgam and Baltal by buses. The journey starts at 3 am the next day. Bus tickets will be available from Bhagwati Nagar Camp only. Both AC and non-AC buses are available. After picking up all the passengers, all the buses move together in convoy. It takes 8 to 9 hours to travel from Jammu to Pahalgam. During this journey the buses stop at two places, where langar arrangements are made for the passengers. It takes even more time to go from Jammu to Baltal.

The real journey starts from Chandanwadi

After reaching Pahalgam, the pilgrims stay at the base camp. From here the onward journey begins on the next day. Accommodation is available at Nunwan Yatri Camp here. Here people live in tents. Many anchors are also installed here, which are constantly moving. Along with this, people have also been allowed to stay in nearby hotels. The next stop from Pahalgam is Chandanwadi, which is 16 kilometers away. You get an early morning cab to this place. The distance of the cave from Chandanwadi is 32 km. From here you have to travel further by foot or horse/mule or palanquin. Pedestrians buy walking sticks from Chandanwadis, which are useful in travelling.

Tourists descend from a height of 14000 feet

There are camps at 3 to 4 places from Chandanwadi to the cave, where tourists can stay overnight and rest. Here there are tents for people to stay and langar for food. The first stop after Chandanwadi is Pisu Top which is 3 kilometers away. It is at a height. After this there is a camp at Sheshnag and from Chandanwadi, Sheshnag is 12 kms and Panchtarani is 26 kms. All these are located at very high altitudes. Between Sheshnag and Panchtarani is Ganesh Top, the highest point of the trek. It is at an altitude of 14,000 feet. From here one has to go down to Panchtarani. Panchtarani is at an altitude of 11,500 feet. The distance from Panchtarani to the holy cave is 6 kms. From here the journey to the height starts again. The cave is at an altitude of 12,500 feet.

Helicopter is also an option for travel

I traveled by horse/mule. Traveled from Chandanwadi to Panchtarani and then rested there for the night. The horse/mule journey was completed in 7 to 8 hours. After this, visited the cave on the next day. The journey from Panchtarni to the cave starts at 4 am. This journey was also done by horse. If you travel by horse/mule, you will have to spend around 10,000 rupees for both ways. Apart from this, helicopter is also an option. Bookings for helicopters start much in advance of the tour. Helicopter facility is available from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes to Panchtarani. The journey from Panchtarni to the cave is by foot, horse/mule and palanquin.

Challenges arise from roads to weather.

If we talk about the road, it is very difficult. You will have to climb for most of the journey. Snow will fall on the hills. On the way you will come across pebbles and stones at many places, at some places you will come across mud and at some places you will face dust for kilometers. At some places we have to walk through snow and at other places we have to walk through a very narrow path. On most routes pedestrians, horses/mules and palanquins travel together. Due to this, difficulties also increase. The climb is extremely difficult at some places. In many places the hill is very smooth. Apart from this you also have to fight against the weather. The drop in temperature can be seen from the very beginning. You will feel cold, but sometimes strong sunlight will also bother you. Mornings and evenings will be quite chilly, while the afternoon sun may bother you. If it rains, the journey becomes many times more difficult. The tour is also canceled in case of heavy rain. There is also danger of landslides and avalanches on the way.

Amarnath Route

Experience the joy with the difficulty

Many times after seeing these difficulties you feel fear, but at the same time you feel joy. You see beautiful views over the mountains. The mountains are covered with snow. In many places the waterfall is flowing from the mountains and in some places the river is passing through. You can experience the beauty of nature in person. As the journey progresses or nears the cave, you start to feel better and the difficulties seem less to you. Pedestrians traveling with difficulty are enthusiastic. His face looks tired, but inside he is full of enthusiasm.

Thousands of troops are deployed for security

As far as security is concerned, it is quite strict. There is a very tight security system from Jammu to Gufa. Thousands of Central Armed Forces and State Police personnel are deployed for the yatra. CRPF, BSF, ITBP, NDRF/SDRF, Jammu and Kashmir Police and Traffic Police personnel are deployed. There is a lot of climbing during the journey and sometimes people have to face difficulties. People’s health also deteriorates, so medical camps are also set up at various places.

Preparations for this journey, which lasts for about 60 days, begin months in advance. It snows here for several months, due to which the entire road is blocked. The way is ready. Camps have been set up at various places. Anchorage has been arranged. While foot travelers can take 3 days to reach the cave from Chandanwadi, the journey can be completed in a day and a half by horse/mule. Baltal saves time. One can return to Pahalgam after darshan by helicopter in 1 or 1.5 days.

Nita Yadav

Nita Yadav

I am Nita Yadav, specializing in writing about politics and breaking national news. My focus is on delivering insightful and timely perspectives on these crucial topics, aiming to inform and engage my readers effectively.

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