Despite of its extremely arduous nature, Amarnath Yatra remains a dream for every Hindu devotee. The holy cave temple is situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet, and can be accessed through tough paths with steep gradients. Weather conditions are uncertain in the region. Thus, the journey can be a challenge even for those who are physically fit. But due to the faith of people towards the immortal deity Shiva, a large number of middle- aged people can be seen moving ahead through arduous Himalayan routes.
Believed to be more than 5000 years old, the ancient cave of Amarnath is situated on the northern end of Lidder valley. It is surrounded by majestic Himalayan peaks, deep endless valleys and shimmering streams & waterfalls, and hence casts a magical spell on every devotee. Due to heavy snow fall and extreme weather, the way to this cave remains closed during winters. Every year, when the snow melts down and the cave becomes accessible, the annual Amarnath pilgrimage starts. This is because of an ice stalagmite – resembling the Shiva lingam – which emerges in the cave.
This iced Shiva-lingam is said to wax and wane with phase of moon. As per Hindu myths, this cave is the place where the secret of immortality was narrated by lord Shiva to his consort Parvati.
There are two routes to access the cave. The one via Pahalgam and the other one is through Baltal. The first route is believed to be taken by lord Shiva and Parvati, and is mostly taken by pilgrimage. It is long, yet less grueling than the second one. Starting from Pahalgam, this route passes through Chandanwari, Seshnag, Ganesh top, Panchtarini and Sangam before ending at the Amarnath Cave. The shorter route is just 16km long, but is quite tough and full of risks. It begins from Baltal and takes the travelers though steep ingredients of Domial, Barari, and Sangam.
Since the pilgrimage takes the devotees to the high altitude amidst snowy hills, many of them start feeling of altitude related illness. Although medical assistance is available en route, tourists are advised to get a medical check before going on the Yatra and should carry the prescribed medicines.
Some of the common health problems that pilgrims face during the Yatra are:
• Acute Mountain Sickness (headache, nausea and vomiting)
• Pulmonary Edema (cough, chest tightness and dizziness)
• High Altitude Cerebral Edema (loss of consciousness)
• Frost Bite
Pilgrims are highly advised to carry woolen clothes to keep you warm. A jacket, a rain coat, monkey cap and sport-shoes are some must-carry items. Apart from that, don’t forget to make advance registration for the pilgrimage, of course from a reliable source. It makes sense to follow all rules issued by the administration in such a security sensitive area. Gain as much as possible info about the Yatra through some reliable travel portal!
Amarnath Yatra Info: Touch the Divinity at the Adobe of Lord