4 / 5

📍 Amarnath Temple, Jammu and KashmirView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:June to August, during the Shravani Mela

⏰ Open Hours:Depends on the weather and security conditions, usually open 24 hours during the Yatra season

🏞 Things To Do:Pilgrimage, Sightseeing, Photography

💰 Budget:Free Entry. However, cost of travel, accommodation and food to be considered

👥 Traveller Types:Pilgrims, Adventure Seekers, Nature Lovers

📌 Known For:Amarnath Cave - a prominent Hindu shrine and its ice stalagmite Shiva lingam

🚉 Distances:Nearest airport: Srinagar (74.1 km), Nearest railway: Jammu Tawi (178 km)

⛺ Facilities:Accommodation tents, Medical facilities, Langars (free community kitchens)

📜 Tips:Medical fitness is necessary, register for Yatra in advance, carry warm clothes

🛡 Security:Highly secured by Indian Army during the Yatra season

⚠️ Altitude:3,888 metres above sea level

Have questions about Amarnath?Ask the Tripoto Community ›

Amarnath: A Divine Journey to the Abode of Lord Shiva

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on the footsteps of Lord Shiva, the supreme deity of Hinduism? To witness the miraculous phenomenon of a natural ice formation that resembles his iconic symbol, the Shiva linga? To experience the bliss and tranquility of being in his presence, surrounded by the majestic Himalayas?

If you have, then you should definitely plan a trip to Amarnath, one of the most sacred and revered pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Located at an altitude of 3,888 metres in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Amarnath is a holy cave that houses the Shiva linga, which is formed by the freezing of water droplets from the roof of the cave. The Shiva linga reaches its maximum size during the months of July and August, which coincides with the auspicious Shravan month of the Hindu calendar. This is when thousands of devotees undertake the arduous trek to the cave, braving the harsh weather and terrain, to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.

The pilgrimage to Amarnath, also known as Amarnath Yatra, is not only a test of faith and devotion, but also a journey of discovery and adventure. It offers a chance to witness the scenic beauty, natural wonders, and cultural diversity of the region, as well as to learn about the history and mythology of the cave and the Shiva linga. Whether you are a spiritual seeker, a nature lover, or an adrenaline junkie, Amarnath Yatra has something for everyone.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Amarnath Yatra, from how to plan your trip, what to expect during the trek, and how to make the most of your experience. We will also share some tips and tricks from our experts and travellers who have completed the journey. So, read on and get ready to embark on a divine journey to the abode of Lord Shiva with Tripoto.

Photo of Amarnath 1/1 by
(C) Kedarnath Temple

How to Plan Your Amarnath Yatra

The first step to planning your Amarnath Yatra is to register yourself for the pilgrimage. The registration process is managed by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), the body that oversees the holy shrine and the yatra. You can register online or offline, by filling up a form and submitting a medical certificate and a photo ID proof. The registration fee is Rs. 50 per person, and you can choose your preferred date and route for the yatra. The registration opens in April and closes in July, or whenever the quota is full. You can check the availability of slots and the status of your registration on the SASB website.

The next step is to decide which route you want to take to reach the Holy Cave. There are two routes to choose from: Srinagar-Baltal and Pahalgam-Chandanwari. Both routes are about 14 km long and take about two days to complete. However, they differ in terms of difficulty, scenery, and facilities. Here is a brief comparison of the two routes:

Srinagar-Baltal: This route is shorter and steeper, and is suitable for those who are physically fit and have less time. It starts from Baltal, which is about 95 km from Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir. From Baltal, you can either trek or take a helicopter to the Holy Cave. The trek takes about 6 to 8 hours, and passes through some steep slopes and narrow paths. The helicopter takes about 15 minutes, and costs Rs. 1,800 per person. The advantage of this route is that it offers a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and the glaciers. The disadvantage is that it has fewer facilities and campsites, and is more crowded and prone to landslides.

Pahalgam-Chandanwari: This route is longer and gentler, and is suitable for those who are looking for a more scenic and comfortable experience. It starts from Chandanwari, which is about 16 km from Pahalgam, a picturesque hill station in Jammu and Kashmir. From Chandanwari, you have to trek to the Holy Cave, as there is no helicopter service available. The trek takes about two days, and passes through some beautiful valleys, meadows, and lakes. The advantage of this route is that it has more facilities and campsites, and is less crowded and safer. The disadvantage is that it is more expensive and time-consuming, and requires more stamina and endurance.

The final step is to prepare for the trek, by packing the essentials, wearing the appropriate clothes, and eating the right food. Here are some tips and tricks to help you with this step:

- Pack light and smart, by carrying only the essentials, such as water, snacks, medicines, torch, raincoat, etc. You can also hire a porter or a pony to carry your luggage, but make sure to negotiate the price beforehand.

- Wear comfortable and warm clothes, such as woolen socks, gloves, cap, jacket, etc. You can also buy or rent these items from the local shops or campsites, but make sure to check the quality and hygiene.

- Eat light and healthy food, such as fruits, nuts, biscuits, etc. Avoid oily, spicy, and heavy food, as they may cause indigestion, nausea, or vomiting. You can also buy or get free food from the local stalls or langars, but make sure to check the freshness and cleanliness.

- Drink plenty of water, but avoid drinking from the streams or ponds, as they may be contaminated. You can also buy or get free water from the local stalls or campsites, but make sure to check the purity and seal.

- Acclimatize yourself to the high altitude, by taking frequent breaks, breathing deeply, and avoiding alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. You can also take medicines such as Diamox or Aspirin, but only after consulting a doctor.

What to Expect During Your Amarnath Yatra

Once you have planned your Amarnath Yatra, you are ready to experience the thrill and joy of the trek. The trek is not only a physical challenge, but also a spiritual and emotional journey. It offers a chance to witness the scenic beauty, natural wonders, and cultural diversity of the region, as well as to learn about the history and mythology of the cave and the Shiva linga. Here are some of the highlights of the trek that you can look forward to:

The Scenic Beauty: The trek to Amarnath is a feast for the eyes, as you get to see the stunning landscapes of the Himalayas, such as the snow-capped peaks, the glaciers, the valleys, the meadows, and the lakes. The trek also offers a glimpse of the rich flora and fauna of the region, such as the alpine flowers, the pine trees, the deodar trees, the wild berries, the marmots, the bears, and the birds. The trek is especially beautiful during the sunrise and the sunset, when the sky and the mountains are painted in different hues of orange, pink, and purple.

The Natural Wonders: The trek to Amarnath is a marvel of nature, as you get to see the miraculous phenomenon of the Shiva linga, which is formed by the freezing of water droplets from the roof of the cave. The Shiva linga is believed to be the manifestation of Lord Shiva, and changes its size and shape according to the phases of the moon. The Shiva linga reaches its maximum size on the full moon day, which is also the most auspicious day to visit the cave. The cave also houses two other ice formations, which represent Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, and Lord Ganesha, their son. The cave is also surrounded by other natural wonders, such as the Amarnath Glacier, the Amarnath Lake, and the Amarnath Peak.

The Cultural Diversity: The trek to Amarnath is a celebration of the cultural diversity of the region, as you get to meet and interact with people from different backgrounds, religions, and regions. The trek also offers a chance to witness and participate in the various rituals and ceremonies that are performed by the pilgrims, such as the puja, the aarti, the prasad, the bhajan, etc. The trek also showcases the hospitality and generosity of the local people, who provide free food, water, shelter, and medical assistance to the pilgrims. The trek also exposes you to the history and mythology of the cave and the Shiva linga, which are narrated by the guides, the priests, and the locals.

How to Make the Most of Your Amarnath Yatra

The trek to Amarnath is not only a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but also a life-changing experience. It is a journey that can transform you in many ways, such as enhancing your faith, enriching your knowledge, strengthening your bond, and improving your health. Here are some ways to make the most of your Amarnath Yatra:

Enhance your faith: The trek to Amarnath is a way to express your devotion and gratitude to Lord Shiva, who is the source of all creation, destruction, and regeneration. You can enhance your faith by chanting his names, meditating on his form, offering prayers and flowers, and seeking his blessings. You can also learn more about his attributes, stories, and teachings, and apply them to your life. You can also experience his grace and protection, as he guides you through the challenges and obstacles of the trek.

Enrich your knowledge: The trek to Amarnath is a way to expand your knowledge and awareness of the world, as you get to see and learn about the diverse aspects of nature, culture, and history. You can enrich your knowledge by observing and appreciating the beauty and wonder of the Himalayas, the glaciers, the valleys, and the lakes. You can also learn about the flora and fauna of the region, and how they adapt to the harsh environment. You can also discover the history and mythology of the cave and the Shiva linga, and how they are connected to the ancient scriptures and legends.

Strengthen your bond: The trek to Amarnath is a way to strengthen your bond with your family, friends, and fellow travellers, as you share the joys and sorrows of the journey. You can strengthen your bond by supporting and encouraging each other, by sharing your stories and experiences, by celebrating your achievements and milestones, and by expressing your gratitude and love. You can also make new friends and connections, as you meet and interact with people from different backgrounds, religions, and regions, and learn from their perspectives and insights.

Improve your health: The trek to Amarnath is a way to improve your health and fitness, as you challenge your physical and mental limits. You can improve your health by exercising your muscles, lungs, and heart, by burning calories and fat, by boosting your immunity and metabolism, and by reducing stress and anxiety. You can also improve your mental health by enhancing your focus, concentration, and memory, by increasing your confidence and self-esteem, by developing your resilience and perseverance, and by cultivating a positive and optimistic attitude.


The trek to Amarnath is a divine journey to the abode of Lord Shiva, where you can witness the miraculous phenomenon of the Shiva linga, and experience the bliss and tranquility of being in his presence. It is also a journey of discovery and adventure, where you can witness the scenic beauty, natural wonders, and cultural diversity of the region, and learn about the history and mythology of the cave and the Shiva linga.

It is also a journey of transformation and growth, where you can enhance your faith, enrich your knowledge, strengthen your bond, and improve your health.

Amarnath Reviews

Sacred Journey to Amarnath Cave… (01 July 14) Our journey to Amarnath Cave started from Baltal camp on 1st July. We woke up at around 3.30 am in the very early morning. We took our bath at that time and paid Rs.70 for a single bath! By 4.30 am we started riding our individual horses with bated breath. We thought that we did early. But our horse owner told us that we were still late by 30 min. After a 30 min horse ride we reached the main check post. Our passes and personal id were verified by the authority, yet again. And thereafter, the most memorable and most fearful journey of my life started. It was a real fun. For the first 3 kms I was not able to even balance myself on the horse ride. The railing along the roadside stretched up-to 4km, and after that we could see the steep fall along the roadside. Along the way we were slowing moving up to great heights, and then moving down to steep rises. I really felt butterflies in the stomach and had Goosebumps. I decided to not see steep sides of the huge mountains. The Road was 8-10 feet wide and it was created by crafting of mountains. Devotees who were on foot journey were travelling by the mountain side. Middle of road was occupied by palanquins. Usually senior citizens used Palanquin. Horse rides were on the steep side of road, and they were away by 1-2 foot from the road end. The Horse owner held the horse by a rope around his neck .He also had a stick in his other hand. The road was fully occupied by horse droppings and mud due to rain on the previous day. The horse owner told us that we should help the horse by bending ahead while it is advancing, and while on slope we should bend towards backside. We had 4 horses moving in sequence. In our procession my horse was in the fore front, followed by my wife’s , my mother’s and lastly my father’s , in that sequence. The name of my horse was Bulbul. I tried my best to communicate with Bulbul, but in vain. Deep valleys were showing up and I have to say that I got really frightened. I thought in my mind that if anything happened, then nobody would be able to find even a fingernail of mine. The horse was walking along the edge of the mountain. A deep valley, a small road, trust, fear, curiosity, nature, glacier, and frame of mind….all these took me to an altogether different world. I could see the water flowing out from a glacier. It was such a soothing and charming view. However, unfortunately, I could not take more photos as I had to balance myself on horse. I could see army jawan carrying 2 dead bodies on stretchers. I thought that if my horse slip on road, then I might be able to hold railing in order to survive. But what will happen to my family? All these thoughts were moving around in my mind .However, by grace of Amaranth, such terrible situation did not arise. Army Jawans were standing at every 500 meters… they stood like rocks... they were guarding whole area all day/night like panther silently watching jungle….responsibility was shown in their gesture … they were doing their task with no fear… thrust & hunger was not bothering them… they were helping people, distributing snacks, biscuit & tea… they were controlling movement of people… I salute their courage… high respect for them… We took a tea-break after around 7km. The health of my mother’s horse was not good. So I asked the owner to replace the horse with a healthy one. He asked about money I would pay. I told him I would pay him money in Baltal base camp, only after return. I asked the horse owners to have tea. I was quite surprised with bill. It was Rs. 240 for four teas! I saw that they were taking tea with Kashmiri roti. After the tea session, the road turned very narrow with steep valleys. Before Barari stop, 2 roads were separated, one for horse and another for Palanquin. We took a 5 min break at Sangam stop. The last 1 km road was made of glacier. But we stepped down from the horse probably far too early, and we had to cover some part walking. We had to make almost a 6.5 hour journey in order to reach a point near Amarnath cave. And then I could see that big waiting line of devotees. The entire area was crowded by tents and lungar’s. Temperature dipped too low. At Amarnath Cave… (01 July 14) Amarnath Cave is at a height of around 12756 feet from the sea level. The oxygen content in the area is very low. As we stood up glacier, we realized that we had not taken a single meal in the last 6.5 hour long journey. It was so physically stressing that my wife collapsed. After taking rest and plenty of water, biscuit and oxygen, her health improved. But, thereafter, we did not want to take any more risk. So we decided to ride Palanquin for the remaining distance. But, to my utter dismay, our palanquin was stopped by security personal, and again we needed to walk along in order to reach queue. The snow was slippery and a number of people slipped due to that. Due to less oxygen in the air, a number of senior citizens and ladies suffered. In the hustle queue, we were moving with crowd. Suddenly the Army jawans came into picture, just to make sure that people were disciplined in queue. They helped elder people to reach cave. They were guiding people. Also they sent people to medical camp for checking. Within 2.5 hour, we had darshan of Amarnath God. Amarnath cave is at 12756 feet height above sea-level and completely made of rock. The Amarnath Shivlingam (Wikipedia: “In traditional Indian society, the linga is rather seen as a symbol of the energy and potential of God, Shiva himself”) is made by snow. It had a height of around 10 -12 feet. I somehow forgot everything else while taking darshan. I was enthralled. I did not see a single bird in the 14 km long stretch of journey, but could see one pigeon in the cave. According to Hindu mythology there are two pigeons. I could not understand how the pigeon alive in cold. What might they eat in this remotest place? People come here only for 2 months in year and even they suffer from cold and low oxygen. Probably it was the miracle of the nature. Or could it be Baba Amarnath’s blessing? Who knows? We took snacks in the lungar. The road was so slippery and snowy that we had a hard time to walk. In two or three occasion I simply slipped, but somehow balanced myself from falling.
Planning and Initial phase of Journey.... Since the year 2011, my family was discussing for a trip to Amarnath and Vaishnodevi Pilgrimage Yatra (Yātrā (Sanskrit: यात्रा, 'journey', 'procession'), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places). Despite deciding so many times, we were not able to find a date to go there!! Eventually, in March 2014, we took a firm decision to go for the Amarnath trip. The tour operator asked us to have a medical test done and submit the Amarnath registration form. We went through the medical tests in Sassoon hospital in Pune, after which, I submitted all the required registration forms to the tour operator. There are 2 ways to reach Amarnath Cave from Srinagar. 1) Baltal Base Camp ( 14 km from Amarnath Cave) 2) Pahalgam (32 km from Amarnath Cave) We registered for the Pahalgam route. Four options are available to go from base camp to Amarnath cave as follows: 1) By foot 2) By riding horse 3) Helicopter 4) Palanquin (A palanquin, also known as palkhi, is a covered sedan chair (or litter) carried on four poles. It derives from the Sanskrit word for a bed or couch, pa:lanka.) At Srinagar we changed our plan (29th June 14) …. Helicopter booking started from 1 March. However, it got over in 2 days. One of my friends told that we can book helicopter from Srinagar as well. We reached Srinagar on 29th June. But, to my utter dismay, I found that Rs.4500 ticket was being sold at 8500 bucks in Srinagar market. In the meantime, Amarnath board decided to close Pahalgam route due to heavy snowfall in that area. Hence our tour operator had to take decision for changing the plan and the new plan was to visit Amarnath Cave through Baltal base camp. On top of that, on Baltal route, the Panchtarni helipad was 6 kilometers away from cave. If we booked helicopter then we needed to either walk, or else we had the option of riding horse for 6 km. So my father decided that we would ride horse in journey.
Once we were down to take bags he told to get something from the shop so that we don't need to pay for the bags. When we were negotiating for the same. One of the guys who was present there near our tent had come there and told that shop owner something so he too was irritated. He shooed us off asking to pay only for the bag. But Raja bought Prasad for 200 rupees and we got our bags back. We had breakfast at the opposite counter and started walking back. We were astonished how quickly we could walk back the path which took forever the previous day. There was a great spot opposite Sangam where we took some rest. Prasanna, Andal and I. The view was awesome. Raja reached in some time and told the Prasad which we bought at the bag stand for 50 rupees he had bought eight of them for 100 rupees. It was evident that we were being cheated so it didn't piss me as much it should have. From that place it was down down down. View was nothing great. Path was full of stones so one has to be really careful. So it was a boring four hours of descent. It was sunny and dusty too just like the title. So we couldn't rest much. But the lunch place was worth all the pain. I loved it even better than the MG Top one. Semiya and curry was awesome. Icing on the cake was the Coconut Burfi which was out of the world. I ate three of them. Good that we reached a good half an hour before the rest of the group so we had time to eat much more.
The AmarnathTemple is one of the 51Shakti Peethas, temples in the South Asian region that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of Sati. Hundreds and thousands of devotees plan an annual pilgrimage to this famous Amarnath temple without fearing the challenging mountainous terrain.
Photos of Amarnath
Planning a trip soon?
Unlock the Perfect Getaway with us
See Packages for Jammu And Kashmir

Places To Visit In Jammu And Kashmir