The Holy Amarnath Yatra

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Image: samvada.org

Located in Jammu district of Jammu & Kashmir state, Amarnath is a historic cave and a holy Hindu shrine.

Considered as one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, Amarnath is one of the 18 shaktipeeths and attracts people from almost all religions, some for religious purposes, however others just throng this place to see the scenic natural beauty. Nestled amidst snowy peaks and lush greens, the place makes a perfect backdrop for numerous enchanting stories, some believable and most of them quite unbelievable.

The cave of Amarnath can’t be visited just any time of the year as winters here are harsh and the temperature sometimes drop down to as low as -7 degree Celsius. Thousands of Hindus make an annual pilgrimage to Amarnath cave braving unforgiving mountainous terrain and chilly climate.

Discovery of the Holy Cave of Amarnath

There are numerous theories around the discovery of the holy Amarnath cave.

Some people say that Amarnath was discovered by Bhrigu Muni and he was the first to do the cave’s darshan, while others believe that it was the Gadaria community who first came to know about its presence. And then there’s this famous story that Lord Shiva chose this place to disclose his secret of immortality to Goddess Parvati.

The Yatra

This one for sure is not easy! One has to walk around 43 kilometers to be able to reach the cave. Given the tough terrain and the unpredictable weather conditions, it becomes more hectic and at times dangerous. Yet, Amarnath remains one of the most frequented Hindu shrines with almost 5 lakh devotees visiting the shrine every year.

It begins from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam and devotees have to take night halts at Sheshnag Lake and Panchtarni camps. Devotees travel on foot, either from Srinagar or from Pahalgam. The Pahalgam journey takes approximately five days. ‘Pratham Pujan’ marks the Amarnath yatra and it is done to invoke the blessings of lord Amarnath.

Unlike olden days, when the route was via Rawalpindi in Pakistan, the pilgrims can now reach Udhampur railway station and reach Pahalgam for a further trek to the cave. Though there is a shorter northern route of about 16 kilometers starting from Baltal and passing through Domel, Barari and Sangam but the extremely steep gradient demands excellent physical fitness and patience. This route passes along the Amarnath valley and Amaravati river originating from Amarnath glacier can be seen with a golden glow of the sun.

When do people visit Amarnath

During the 45-day season, which is around the festival of Shravani Mela in July or August, Amarnath cave is thronged by lakhs of visitors. Though people opt for Shravan Purnima and Guru Purnima to visit Amarnath, the latter is often preferred as rains do not start by then. Once the monsoon sets in, the trek to the cave becomes exceedingly difficult.

How to reach Amarnath

One can reach Amarnath by air, by train and by road. The nearest airport is Srinagar airport from where it takes approximately two hours to reach Pahalgam by road. Udhampur Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Pahalgam.

Trains to Amarnath

Though there is no direct train to Amarnath, you can take a train till Udhampur or Jammu. From there cabs are available for Pahalgam or Baltal.

Special train for Amarnath devotees

Trains are flooded during the Amarnath yatra season and in order to clear the extra rush of passengers, Northern Railway has decided to do 28 trips from Anand Vihar Terminal to Udhampur on a special train meant for Amarnath devotees. The train will depart from Anand Vihar Terminal on Monday and Friday from July 1 to August 15, 2019.

It will depart from Udhampur on Tuesday and Friday from July 2 to August 16, 2019.

The train will cover the following stations:

Ghaziabad, Meerut City Jn, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Yamunanagar, Jagadhari, Ambala Cantt Jn, Ludhiana Jn, Jalandhar Cantt, Pathankot Cantt, Jammu Tawi and Udhampur station.

How to book and when to book

Though there are several trains running from New Delhi to Udhampur and Anand Vihar to Udhampur, it is advisable to visit Railyatri.in and check the availability of seats in the trains running between these stations. With Indian Railways, it is advisable to plan your travel in advance.

How RailYatri keeps it going

Amarnath yatra can be comfortably planned with RailYatri. Here’s how:

  • Book a train ticket using the app. RailYatri app not only gives you available trains to choose from; it also shows seat availability and what is the probability of a wait listed seat becoming available.
  • Once you reach Jammu or Udhampur, you can book a cab using the ‘book a cab’ to Pahalgam or baltal on RailYatri app so that once you disembark from the train; you are not running around booking a cab and paying exorbitant fares.
  • While onboard a train; you can order a fresh, hot meal using the ‘book a meal’ option on the app.

The features of RailYatri app not only ensures that you have your train travel well covered with legit tickets, easy-to-book tickets, several other features; they also tell you train running status, important stations between starting and destination stations etc.

Why go anywhere else when RailYatri is here to help!

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