The pilgrimage to holy Amarnath cave is very sacred for Hindus. It is very revered and is taken by a large number of devotees annually. But remember that, the pilgrimage needs to be planned carefully. There are two routes to climb to the cave. But the route from Pahalgam is better in term of hotels, sanitation and stay facilities. For those who are suffering from any health problem, this journey is not advisable. Weather at this part of Himalaya is very uncertain. It can be rainy, sunny and cloudy in no time. The trekking distance from Pahalgam to Amarnath Cave is around 46km. To Chandanwari, one can take Summo or other private vehicles available. After that the main trekking begins!
The pilgrims are advised to carry portable small oxygen bottle that can help them in case of lack of oxygen at high altitude. Be prepared to face the tough trekking paths and extreme cool weather. Tents are available for night halt; though don’t expect very good quality of stay. Food is however free all through the journey as many bhandaras are established by people from across the country. Don’t forget to carry warm woolen clothes to keep you warm against the chilly climate. Don’t take too many eatables, as plenty of chai shops on the way and "Bhandaras" around the cave.
If you’re planning Amarnath Yatra by helicopter, make sure you take the same route while coming back. You can leave the luggage safely in a hotel and can take it back after completion of the journey. It is advisable to book 3N/4D package, as even after the helicopter ride it is not easy to return back on the same day. If you’re with family, take helicopter from Baltal to Panchtaraini and then palki to the cave. The Palkiwala will leave you to the closet point to the cave. Do carry little possible stuff during the Yatra.
We all know that the Amarnath cave is located amidst snowy Himalaya in Kashmir and reaching there is not so easy. However, transportation facilities to Pahalgam are getting improved and one can easy get into this base town for Amarnath trekking. You can reach to Srinagar by flights from Delhi or can take train to Jammu and then private vehicles to Srinagar or Pahalgam. There are no train services between Jammu and Srinagar. The vehicles normally leave from Jammu at evening time and take overnight ride to reach Srinagar.
From Srinagar to Pahalgam is about 96kms. It is better to reach Pahalgam at evening time as one can make overnight stay in a Pahalgam hotel and then can opt for the pilgrimage next morning. The gates for trekking to the cave at Chandanwari get closed at around 10:30 Am. So you better reach there before this time.
Amarnath Yatra: Tasting your Endurance and Faith in Lord Shi