Amarnath Yatra is one of the most preferred pilgrimages in Hinduism, one which every Hindu cherish to travel on once in his lifetime. This religious Yatra is organized every year to the great Himalayas, by the government of Jammu and Kashmir. The Amarnath tour attract by lakhs of pilgrims of domestic and international devotees. Interestingly, the main cave temple site is located at a height of 3,888 m above sea level and is around 141 km away from the state’s capital city, Srinagar. Hope Post COVID 19 in 2021 we are able to welcome more numbers and government support system. Though the Yatra is physically hectic, pilgrims put in a lot of effort to complete the holy tour of the scenic Amarnath cave. You can plan your Amarnath Yatra via two routes – Baltal to Amarnath Cave and Pahalgam to Amarnath cave.
The Story of Amarnath Yatra
There are many stories associated with this popular pilgrimage site and among them, one stands out. There is One most known and popular story i.e., most popularly known among the pilgrims. Amarnath is drenched in magic and folklore, which fascinates the devotees. The story of Amarnath goes a little like this:
Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva the reason for wearing the beads of the head (Mund Mala). To which the Lord replied that every she dies and is born again, he adds the new head in the bead. Upon hearing this, Goddess Parvati asked the reason that she has died again and again but he is immortal. To this lord told her that for this she has to listen to the Amar Katha.
Then, Lord Shiva decided to narrate the Amar Katha, the tale of immortality to his divine consort Goddess Parvati. For which he was looking for a quiet place aloof from all living beings so that the tale of immortality will not be overheard by any living being. For this, he heads towards Amarnath cave and during the Yatra Lord Shiva leaves his belongings on the way. At Pahalgam, he leaves his bull Nandi. At Chandanwari, Lord Shiva leaves the moon from his hairs. The place where Sheshnag Lake is situated, he let go of his snake namely Sheshnag, the king of snakes and at Mahagunas Parvat he left his son Lord Ganesha. And finally, at Panjtarni, Lord Shiva left the five physical elements of cosmic creations (air, water, earth, space, and fire).
After leaving behind all their earthly belongings, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati arrive at Amarnath Cave. Before entering the cave, Lord Shiva performs Tandav Nritya (dance) with Goddess Parvati. Upon reaching the cave, Lord Shiva takes Samadhi on a deerskin and concentrates. To ensure there is no living being left there to listen to the immortal tale, Lord Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living being. After this, Lord Shiva started narrating the tale of immortality to the Goddess Parvati. However, one egg was lying beneath the deerskin and was protected from the fire. It is a pair of pigeons born from the egg and become immortal having listened to the secret of immortality or Amar Katha. It is believed that till this date they remain immortal and can be seen at Amarnath cave.
One most popular variation has a parrot in place of the pigeon as the central character. While Lord Shiva was narrating the Amar Katha, the secret of life and eternity to Goddess Parvati. She fell asleep while listening to the tale of avogyan, but the parrot started making noises. Although, Lord Shiva thought that Parvati was listening to the story. However, when he finished the narration, he realized that she was actually asleep, and the parrot was listening to the story all this while. This made Lord Shiva, enraged who threw his trident (Trishul) to kill the parrot. To avoid and escape the trident, it is believed that the parrot entered the body of a lady, who was a sage’s wife, and decided to grow inside her womb. The child that was later born, was named Shuka and went on to become a famous Saint. Post this incident, Lord Shiva ordained that anybody who will visit the Amarnath Cave will surely attain Moksha or salvation and would clear all his sins of lifetime and karma of previous janama (birth).
Spiritual Significance of Amarnath Yatra
Cave of Amarnath with the Ice lingam is one of the holiest shrines of Hindus and it is believed that taking the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime can free the person from the cycle of rebirth. The Amarnath Cave gets its significance from the Shiva Lingam formed at a height of 40 m inside the cave. Hindus believe that there is an essence of of Lord Shiva in the ice lingam that incarnate every year to bestow the devotees.
Two other ice formations represent Parvati and Shiva’s son ‘Ganesha’. Every year, the year water enters mysteriously from the top of the cave, freezes into ice, and forms the ice lingam. It acquires full shape on Purnima (full moon night), which is almost 10-12 feet high. It is believed that on that day, Lord Shiva revealed the secrets of life to Goddess Parvati that grow and perish with the time .
Amarnath Cave Legend and Observation
Although the existence of Amarnath Cave is mentioned in the Puranas, the story of the re-discovery of Amarnath Cave is narrated by people. As per the community saying, the Amarnath Cave was discovered by a Muslim shepherd, Buta Malik in 1850 who met a saint here. The saint gave Buta Malik a bag of coal. He checked the bag upon reaching the home and found that the bag contained gold instead of coal. He was overjoyed and went back to thank the saint but couldn’t find him. Rather, he found a cave and an ice lingam. The pilgrimage to the cave began after he shared the discovery with the villagers and thereafter it became popular amongst the Hindus.
Schedule of 2021 – Amarnath Yatra Dates
Amarnath Yatra dates are decided by the Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the caretaker of holy cave. In 2021, Yatra will starts from 1st July 2021 to 22nd August 2021 (tentative dates). The Yatra usually starts on the auspicious occasion of Skanda Sashti as per the Hindu calendar and concludes on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan).
Preparation for Amarnath Yatra
Cave is situated at a high altitude of 5200mts. and pilgrims are necessarily advised to take care of special needs during the preparation for the Yatra. Following are a few things that devotees need to remember while preparing for Amarnath Yatra.
- Baggage: It is advisable to carry sufficient woolens as the region experiences sub-zero temperature. Also, carry a wind-cheater and raincoat. Waterproof bags, sturdy shoes, battery torch, walking stick, and power banks are other essentials, which must carry.(Care Baggage should not exceed 10kg).
- Medical Care: Medical posts with qualified doctors are established en route, free of cost. However, it is advised to carry the essential medicines and medical kit with you for immediate rescue . It is advicable to carry suggestive name dimox (altitude sickness medicine) -Please check with your doctor before you travel, fever medicine , pain balm etc.
- Food : Many restaurants, and tea stalls are available at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, and Panjtarni. We would suggest , it is advisable to carry biscuits, tinned food, and dry fruits, Cardemom , Energy bar, Glucose, toffee , with you during the Yatra.
- Documentation and medical fitness are most important before embarking on the Yatra. Registration of the pilgrims is undertaken usually a month ahead of the Yatra commencement date. Pilgrims are not allowed to Start on the Yatra without a permit or registration card.
Registration Date – Amarnath Yatra 2021
Amarnath Yatra 2021 Registration is expected to start from 1st March 2021.
How to Register for Amarnath Yatra
It is mandatory to complete the registration formalities for Amarnath Yatra. Also carrying the proper documents is a must during the Yatra. Here is the detailed information to get Amarnath Yatra registration:
- There are two ways to register for Amarnath Yatra – offline mode and online mode. You can obtain Yatra Permit from the approved banks and registration centers.
- For online registration, download the form from the official website and attach the necessary documents including a Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC) issued on or after the specified date by the Authorized Doctor/ Medical Institution. You can also apply for the permit on the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB). The registration fee for Amarnath Yatra 2021 is INR 100. The age limit of Yatris is between 13 years and 75 years. Pregnant ladies of more than 6 months are not allowed for Yatra.
- For offline registration, you need to visit the designated banks along with the necessary documents such as Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC), original identity proof, and photographs. The essential documents you will need during the Yatra include (but are not limited to) Voter ID, Driving License, Passport, etc. for your identity.
- With one mobile number, only 4 people can register for Yatra. For online payment, credit card, debit card, or net banking can be used.
Enhance your Immunity Amarnath Yatra?
Amarnath is one of the sacred Hindu Dhams and it is believed that one has to do this pilgrimage tour once in a lifetime. However, the trek to Amarnath is arduous and it requires fitness. Here is the detailed information about you should prepare yourself for Amarnath Yatra:
- Trekking or climbing up the mountain requires a lot of physical stamina and willpower. If you have a great desire to embark on this Yatra, you need to be physically fit and can prepare yourself with some easy but important activities like walking for at least 6 kilometers every day for almost 2 to 3 weeks before starting the journey.
- Stretching exercise also helps a lot. While workout stretches your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and low back muscles regularly. It promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.
- Deep breathing exercises and Yoga, particularly Pranayama help in improving the oxygen efficiency of the body.
Amarnath Cave is located at a high altitude of 5186 mtrs. in the Himalayan region of Kashmir Valley and experiences severe weather conditions. The air pressure is low and you are exposed to extreme UV radiations. You might feel uneasy with the common problems like nausea, headache, vomit, and breathing difficulties. So it is recommendable to carry essential medicines and apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn and inflamination.
Key points of concerns at Amarnath Yatra –
- For any serious ailment or poor immunity & medical condition, inform fellow trekkers and authorities. Consult your doctor before commencing this trip in order to better with the Yatra.
- Ensure to gain energy from carbohydrates & protein on this trip. You might feel sick at this altitude, immediately head to lower altitudes and get a checkup to avoid any havoc.
- Avoid smoking, drink alcohol, or consume caffeine.
- Care sleeping altitude should not cross 300 meters of the altitude you slept on the previous day in order to best sustain on high altitude.
How to Reach Pahalgam/Baltal from Srinagar
There are two routes are decided for Yatra pilgrims – from Pahalgam and from Baltal. Although both these routes are well connected from all major cities, a higher percentage of pilgrims prefer to begin their journey from Srinagar, a major reason being the easy accessibility of Srinagar airport/railway station/Bus Stand.
How to reach Pahalgam and Baltal from Srinagar.
- Srinagar to Pahalgam – Take a shared taxi from Srinagar to reach Pahalgam. The distance between Srinagar and Pahalgam is approx. 88 km and will take approx. 2 hours 18 minutes via National Highway 1A and K.P Road.
- Srinagar to Baltal – Direct coaches are available from Srinagar to Baltal. It will take you approx. 3 hours 14 minutes (95.2 km) via National Highway 1.
How to reach Amarnath Cave from Baltal/Pahalgam ?
1- Pilgrimage Yatra From Baltal To Amarnath cave
Amarnath via Baltal is the most popular route among Amarnath pilgrims since it is the shortest too. Baltal is only 14 km from the Cave, which can be covered by road and by helicopter. Helicopter service is especially for pilgrims who are short on time. NTP India Tourism’s Helicopter Tour Packages combined with Kashmir and Vaishnodevi let you save a lot of time and physical effort. The exciting Helicopter ride covers most of the yatra between Nilgrad (Baltal) to Panjtarni and the remaining 6 km distance can be covered by trek with the help of wooden sticks
- Baltal Route: Baltal – Domali – Barari Marg – Sangam – Holy Cave
2- Pahalgam route of Amarnath Yatra
Pahalgam, which was once famous in the Kashmir Valley for its natural beauty, has now turned into a base camp for pilgrims. Pahalgam base camp is just 96 km away from Srinagar and 47 km from the cave site. The first step of yatra is at Chandanwari, 9,500 feet, around 16 km from the Pahalgam base camp. Then next step is Pissu top, 3 km away, located at 11,000 feet, followed by Shesnag around 9 km from Pissu top that is located at 11,730 feet. The next destination is Panjtarni, almost 12 km away from here, placed at 12,000 feet. Nevertheless, you can also cover this distance by helicopter or by road.
Pahalgam Route: Pahalgam – Chandanwari – Pissu Top – Sheshnag – Panchtarni – Holy Amarnath Cave
Amarnath Yatra By Helicopter Bookings
The advance tickets of a helicopter for Amarnath Yatra can be booked online on the official website of Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB). Pilgrims can also book their tickets from the tatkal counter of Helicopter operators at respective helipads. The chances of getting tickets at the counters become less due to the heavy rush in the peak season. So it is advisable to book the tickets in advance. Children below 2 years of age can travel free of cost. Although, children shall be carried in the lap of the accompanying adult.
NTP India Tourism provides various Tour Packages For Amarnath Yatra by helicopter Or by trek. so just book your tour now and start your pilgrimage yatra to holy Amarnath cave.
Baltal to Amarnath Cave Pithu, Pony, Palki Charges 2021
|Rates of Baltal to Amarnath Cave||Per person Charges|
Tips for Amarnath Yatra
- Planning to travel with a family with children below 13 years and senior citizens 75 years and above, avoid trekking. Six weeks pregnant ladies are also not allowed.
- Free food and water services are provided such as rice, roti, idlis, dosa, dry fruits, and chocolates.
- Tents at Nuwan in Pahalgam are provided with mats and blankets to protect from cold weather. But do not have high expectations.
- It is freezing in Jammu and Kashmir, so make sure to carry woolen clothes, jackets, caps, gloves. A windcheater, raincoat, and a torch might come in handy.
- Bring waterproof boots made of plastic or rubber (Hunter shoes) . They necearrily provide good grip and will help you with the water and snow.
- Photography and littering are not allowed inside the caves. Follow the guidelines prescribed outside the cave to avoid any legal issues.
- Tents do not have an attached toilet and you need to use common toilets. So, carry enough toilet papers, soap napkins, etc. with you. You may get a warm water bottle for toilet use at an additional cost.
- Quite Often weather conditions hamper the return helicopter. Be prepared to stay at Panchtarni on the same day and plan your travel on accord.
- Before you start the trek, decide the meeting point with your group in case anyone gets lost/departed.
- Each group member must have all the printouts of the helicopter tickets, other accommodation vouchers and always carry valid photocopy of ID cards.
- Mobile phones do not work in Baltal, Panchtarani, and Cave areas. Only the BSNL network works that too sometimes. There are no Local/STD/ISD booths. Remember to carry roaming enabled BSNL SIM cards from your hometown with you.
Amarnath Yatra – Plan Things to Carry
** Warm clothes & Woolen caps and socks
** Windcheater Jacket
**Sunscreen and an insect repellent
** Waterproof shoes and a raincoat
** Trekking stick
**Reusable water bottle
**First aid kit for emergency situations
**Torch with an extra battery
**Hand sanitizer and a hand wash
ACCOMMODATION during Amarnath yatra
è Pahalgam, you can stay at the base camp in Nunwan. Tents on per night per person basis housing 10-12 people are available along the way at the night stops. Quilts, pillows, mattresses, and kerosene oil lanterns are provided. Hot water is given at an extra cost.
Popular Accommodation to stay in Pahalgam during Amarnath Yatra are –
- Golf View Resort
- Grand Mumtaz Resorts
- Hotel Kohinoor
- Hotel Ramba Palace Resorts
Baltal- Huts are available at Baltal, Manigaon, Panjtarni, and Holy Cave. You may locate some makeshift toilets but most yards manage in the open.
Otherwise, some places you can stay in Balta during Amarnath Yatra are –
- Hotel Mountview Sonamarg
- Eden Resorts and Spa
- The Chinar Resort & Spa
- Forest Hill Resorts
Food and Eating arrangements during the Amarnath Yatra
Langar’s or free food is available on the entire trek. You can consume paranthas, milk, biscuits, rotis, dal, rice, sweets, dosa, tea, bread and now we also find Pizza and Chowmein, spring roles etc. Also, basic medication, and some free accommodation and sanitation facilities are also offered. These langar’s are found at each of the major stops on the Amarnath route to facilitate the pilgrims .
Bets time to travel to Amarnath Yatra:
The Desirable time and dates to go for Amarnath Yatra is from July to August. The schedule of this yatra change as per the lunar cycle. Moreover, Amarnath Yatra is open for two months and concludes on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan day).
Weather in Amarnath
Amarnath weather is unpredictable. Rain or snow can happen anytime during the yatra. The weather gets extremely cold, so make sure to cover yourself with warm clothes.
Group Registration of Amarnath yatra
Amarnath Yatra Registration is a significant process that has to be fulfilled by every pilgrim who is looking forward to darshan of Shri Amarnathji. Another name of Lord Shiva, Amarnath beckons pilgrims to His holy cave in Jammu and Kashmir. Registration is mandatory to visit the sacred site. All the registrations for Shri Amarnath Yatra 2021 are made against a prescribed registration form. Authorized Institutions/ doctors for issuing Compulsory Health Certificates (CHC) for Shri Amarnath Yatra 2021 is constantly updated and is available online. Since 2014, the shrine board has started ‘group registration’ for a specific date for those intending to travel in a group comprising their family, friends, relatives, or neighbors.
There are some other names of Amarnath yatra Registration, such as Yatra Registration Pass, Darshan pass, Yatra Permit (YP), Amarnath Panjikaran, Entry pass, entry ticket, Sarvadarshanam Pass, Amarnath Temple Booking Ticket, Helicopter Registration, and Bank Registration. The advisories and guidelines issued by Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board are clear that inform yatris about every step of the registration process. Here, we will see the procedure of Amarnath Yatra group registration 2021. Following are the Guidelines for Group Registration for Shri Amarnath Yatra-2021:
For Yatra 2021, CHCs (Compulsory Health Certificates) issued only after defined date by SASB (Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board) would be valid for registration purposes.
- Registration is done on a first-come-first-serve basis. It is subject to date wise and route wise vacancies (registration quota/ slots) available for a particular day/ particular route. These are subject to a maximum of 50 registrations per group per day per route.
- If vacancies (registration quota/slots) are unavailable for a particular date for which the Group seeks Amarnath Yatra registration 2021, the Group Leader (one of the intending pilgrims of the group) will be contacted by phone and informed about the next available Group Registration slot. If the Group Leader doesn’t accept it, application forms, CHCs, and the registration fee shall be returned to the Group Leader through a registered post. If the Group Leader agrees for registration for a date when quota is available, the same will be done and sent to him through a registered post.
- Yatris will be allowed to take on Yatra only on the day and route for which they have been registered.
- There are instances when those who want to go for the yatra in a group of 5 or more members are unable to obtain Yatra Permits from the nearest located Bank Branches. It happens because the allocated number of vacancies (registration quota/ slots) have been over. So for Amarnath Yatra registration, the group members can individually apply by Registered Post to the Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, Chaitanya Ashram, Talab Tillo, Jammu and K-Villa Sohrawardy House, Shiv Pora, Srinagar.
- To apply for the Yatra Permit under ‘Group Registration Facility’, the Group Leader has to send the following documents in respect of each group member: by registered post at:
- Duly filled prescribed application forms
- Original copies of the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificates (CHCs) issued by the authorized doctor/ medical institutions
- Four passport size photographs, one of which is to be signed on the front side
- Last year yatra registration fee @ Rs.150/- per Yatri
- Mailing address of the group leader, along with mobile number, and e-mail ID
- Postal charges for last year as per scale mentioned below:
|No of pilgrims in a group||Postal charges last year|
|1 to 5||INR 50|
|6 to 10||INR 100|
|11 to 15||INR 150|
|16 to 20||INR 200|
|21 to 25||INR 250|
|26 to 30||INR 300|
- The amount payable to the SASB (Yatra registration fee and postal charges) shall be sent through Bank Draft drawn in favor of Chief Accounts Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board.
- Those below the age of 13 years or above the age of 75 years can’t get Amaranth Yatra registration. Similarly, women who are more than six weeks pregnant can’t get registration for the Yatra.
- Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, shall not be responsible for any postal delay.
Registration Procedure for NRI/ ex-India Pilgrims
Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board has the authority to enable NRI/ ex-India for Shri Amarnath Yatra registration. This facility is specially established considering a large number of devotees living abroad who want to undertake this annual Yatra. Following is the procedure for Registration of NRI/ex-India pilgrims:
- To register for Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2021, an ex-India pilgrim should send scanned copies of the following documents to a designated officer:
- Filled-in prescribed application forms Compulsory Health Certificate (issued by National Health Services of the country concerned after an announced date in 2021)
- Scanned photograph of the applicant
- Registration of INR 500 per yatri (to be deposited to the designated bank)
- The intending pilgrim will have the choice of collecting the Yatra Permit from the selected branch of the designated bank located at Jammu or Srinagar. This choice shall be indicated by the pilgrim in his/ her forwarding email.
- Registration of ex-India pilgrims shall be subject to availability of registration quota for the preferred day and route.
- The Security Manager of the designated bank will inform the pilgrim via email, whether he/ she has been registered for the Yatra. The location of the bank branch at Jammu/ Srinagar will also be informed to the yatri to collect the Yatra Permit.
SASB has design and layout of Shri Amarnath ji Yatra Permit Registration Forms. These have several high security features to be safe from being duplicated by unlawful elements.