Amarnath Temple Distance, Photos, History, How to Reach

by Surojit Palmal
Amarnath Temple

The Amarnath Temple located in the union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most important sites of pilgrimage in India. Even though the temple is accessible only for 2-3 months in a year it attracts Lakhs and Thousands of devotees annually. The Amarnath Yatra is one of the most popular religious treks that would take a visitor to the Amarnath Caves. A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple holds a huge cultural and historical relevance. Furthermore some mythological stories, legends and beliefs are also attached to this temple that makes it one of the most important temples in India. Devotees from all over the world visit the temple and trek through the terrain for days to reach the temple and seek blessings from the deity. In recent times the number of pilgrims visiting Amarnath is ever increasing.

According to beliefs the location covered in snow and located at a high elevation is more that 5000 years old. Due to extreme weather conditions it is not possible to reach the temple during any time of the year. Only during a specific window it is accessible for the devotees. And during that time people from all over the world travel in this path of liberation as they consider it one of the holy journeys. The belief and the faith that the devotees have on the deity here further makes this temple significant. The Amarnath Yatra is a journey towards spiritual salvation and hence leads to the spiritual fulfillment of the devotees. Keep on reading this article as here I will mention everything you need to know about the Amarnath Temple. This will be a helpful article for you to plan a trip to Amarnath soon.

Amarnath Temple

Where is Amarnath Temple?

Baltal Amarnath, Forest Block, Anantnag district, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir

Timings: The Amarnath Yatra is accessible only from June to August every year

How to reach

By air

If you are travelling by air then the nearest airport to reach the temple is the Srinagar Airport. From the airport you will have to either reach Pahalgam or Baltal which are the base for the Amarnath Yatra. From Srinagar Airport Pahalgam is located at a distance of 89.6 km. It would approximately take around 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach the location from the airport. And the distance of Baltal is 102.9 km away. It would approximately take you around 2 hours and 52 minutes to reach Baltal from the airport. From the airport you can either take buses or else you can hire a car or take a cab as well to reach the base camps of the yatra.

By train

In case you are travelling by train the nearest railway station is the Jammu Tawi railway station. From there you will have to either reach Baltal or Pahalgam to start the Amarnath Yatra. The distance of Baltal from the railway station is 342 km and it would take you around 8 hours and 42 minutes to reach there from the station. And the distance of Pahalgam from the railway station is 240 km. It would take around 6 hours and 10 minutes to reach the location from the railway station. You will get both buses as well as taxis from the railway station to reach both the base camps from the railway station.

By road

You can travel by road to reach the base camps of the yatra as well. There are buses available on this route and you can opt for the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation buses to reach either Pahalgam or Baltal from major cities and towns nearby. You can also take a car or hire a taxi as well from different locations to reach the base camps.

By helicopter

Helicopter rides are also available to reach the Amarnath Cave directly by skipping the trek. The ride is available from Baltal and you will be dropped at Panchtarni. However from there Amarnath Temple distance is 6 km and you will have to trek that distance to reach the temple. But there are palkis and hose rides available from there as well that you can opt for.

Amarnath Yatra Trek
Amarnath Yatra Trek
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The only option to reach the Amarnath Cave Temple is by a trek and there are two routes to reach there. From Baltal the route is shorter and it starts from Chandanwari Base in Pahalgam and goes through Baltal. The trek here is 14 km long and covers Domial, Barari and Sangam. It would take around 1-2 days for the trek to complete. However on your way you can also hire a palki or else go on a pony ride to reach the location. Another route is via Pahalgam and it is a longer route that takes around 3 to 5 days to complete. It is basically a wider route and therefore easier for the pilgrims to cover. From here also you can hire ponies to reach up to the cave as well.


Best time to visit

Amarnath Best time to visit
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The ideal time to visit Amarnath is from June to August. The Amarnath Yatra is only accessible during a period of 45 days and there is an official announcement each year. The journey starts on the auspicious day of Skandshashthi in July. And the journey continues till the end of Shravan month till Purnima in August. These are the months when the temperature of this region is mild and ranges in between 10 degrees and 25 degrees. Therefore for trekking and other spiritual activities this is the ideal time for the visitors.

The months after August are not suitable for any kind of journey on this route. From August to September the chances of flood and landslides increases. And from October to January there is snowfall in the region with freezing cold. For safety and security of the pilgrims these are times when a trip to Amarnath is discouraged. So you must plan your trip accordingly.

Overview of Amarnath Temple

The holy Amarnath Ji Temple is one of the major sites of pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Shiva. For a devotee the temple holds a lot of importance. Even historically and mythologically the temple holds a lot of importance as well. Located at an elevation of 3888 meters the temple is actually a cave. Inside Amarnath Temple there is a Shiva Lingam which is a Phallus shaped formation of ice and it is one of the most holy symbols in the Hindu culture. Also one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas the location and the ambiance of the temple further makes it significant. It takes a hard and long trek to actually reach the Amarnath Cave. Also the Amarnath Yatra starts from June and continues till August and these are the only months when you can access the temple.

The major time to visit the temple is during the Shravani Mela which is the main celebration here during the months of July and August. This is however the main time when devotees from all over the world visit the temple to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. The location is surrounded by glaciers and snow capped mountains on all sides which makes it a visually pleasing site as well. Here the Shiva Lingam is created from ice that melted from the roof and fell on the ground. However, according to popular beliefs this is the location that Lord Shiva picked to explain the secrets of immortality and the creation of the Universe to Devi Parvati. The naturally formed Shiva Linga, the legends and the history attached to the Amarnath Temple makes it one of the most important sites of pilgrimage for Shiva devotees.


History Amarnath Temple

History Amarnath Temple
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The history of the temple in Amarnath is related to the legends that are associated with this temple. The most popular legend says that once Devi Parvati questioned Lord Shiva about immortality. Therefore to explain the story to her Lord Shiva chose the Amarnath Cave to ensure secrecy. He also created Rudra so that he can fire up the whole region to ensure there are no living beings left in the vicinity to listen to his tale or Amar Katha. However a pigeon egg was left behind which later hatched into a pair of pigeons. According to myth the pair of pigeons also became immortal after listening to the Amar Katha. A lot of devotees have even claimed that they have seen this pair of pigeons here.

There is another legend that says that Lord Shiva left his bull Nandi at Pahalgam. And then he also freed the moon that stays on his hair at Chandanwari. Later he left the snake from his throat to go into the shores of Lake Sheshnag. He further left his son Lord Ganesha at Mahaganesh Mountain. And then he further left Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky the 5 main elements at Panjtarni. And finally Lord Shiva then performed his Dance of Destruction or Tandava in order to represent his sacrifice of the material world. After that Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvati entered the Amarnath Cave. It was there that Lord Shiva materialized into an ice Shiva Lingam. Goddess Parvati materialized into a Yoni that was made of stone. Legend also says that a sage Rishi Bhrigu was the first one who found Amarnath Cave.


Things to remember before visiting Amarnath Temple

1.       For the Amarnath Yatra every yatri has to submit an application form and register them along with submitting a compulsory health certificate.

2.       The registration per yatri is Rs. 100.

3.       A person below the age of 13 years and above the age of 75 years cannot take on the journey.

4.       You must carry some dry fruits, chocolates, fruits so that you can maintain your energy.

5.       Do remember to carry necessary medicines.

6.       You will have to buy pre-loaded BSNL Sim cards for Rs. 230.

7.       There are some camps with huts available for overnight stays at locations like Baltal, Sheshnag, Nunwan and Panjtarni. The stay would cost you around Rs. 250 to Rs. 400 per night.

Wrapping Up!

So that was all about Amarnath Temple and the famous Yatra and now you can plan to travel there as soon as you can. You can check out the Amarnath Temple photos and you would understand how majestic the site and the surroundings look here. It would be one of a kind of an experience if you plan to go on Amarnath Yatra. And also you will remember the yatra all your life because of the experiences that you will enjoy. It will be spiritually enriching as well as exciting at the same time. Let me know if this article on Amarnath Temple is helpful for you in planning a trip to this location.

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