Amarnath yatra: Trek on a pilgrimage

Tripoto
30th May 2014
Photo of Amarnath yatra: Trek on a pilgrimage 1/3 by Sandeepa & Chetan
On Mahagunas top, the highest point.
Photo of Amarnath yatra: Trek on a pilgrimage 2/3 by Sandeepa & Chetan
Helicopter ride for the Amarnath yatra
Photo of Amarnath yatra: Trek on a pilgrimage 3/3 by Sandeepa & Chetan

We were looking for a trek in the Kashmir region. It was the season of the Amarnath yatra. Everyone around suggested we make use of this opportunity.

We are not too religiously inclined, but the prospect of a journey with so many others and seeing what probably is the world’s most renowned ice stalagmite excited us.

We had spent a few weeks in Kashmir by then. Our minds were already in the mountain mode. We did a few day treks in Chatpal and Yusmarg to prepare ourselves for the Amarnath yatra.

After getting our medical certificates from the government hospital in Anantnag and registering ourselves at the tourist office in Srinagar, we set out on the allocated date.

Top tips for doing the Amarnath yatra

  • The best and the safest mode to do the Amarnath yatra is on foot. The pictures above will show it is not impossible.
  • Prepare adequately before the yatra. Regular exercise in the months prior will help. Practice climbing by trekking up a nearby mountain. If there isn’t one nearby, climb up the steps in the house or building.
  • Respect the mountain. It is our privilege to be in the heart of the Himalayas on the Amarnath yatra.
  • Most importantly, do not use the excuse of faith to flout the rules. Follow the dates and the times allotted. The rules are for our own safety. Many people do a tough job of ensuring our safety in these high mountains. Let us return this favour by being responsible ourselves.

This trip was originally published on SandeepaChetan's Travel Blog.

The first 15 km is just a drive to Chandanwari.

The trek begins only at Chandanwari. (A shorter one day route from Baltal is another option to get to the Amarnath cave.

Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Chandanwari, Pahalgam by Sandeepa & Chetan

The next campsite was at Panchatarini. This is also the disembarkation point for the devotees who prefer the helicopters.

Photo of Sheshnag by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Sheshnag by Sandeepa & Chetan

A buzzing market around the actual cave area of Amarnath belies its height of almost 13800 feet.

Photo of Amarnath Peak by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Amarnath Peak by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Amarnath Peak by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Amarnath Peak by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Amarnath Peak by Sandeepa & Chetan
Photo of Amarnath Peak by Sandeepa & Chetan

This is a straight path, with a steady ascent on the way to the cave. Thankfully we only had to descend the 14 km to the base camp at Baltal.

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