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How To Reach Amarnath
Located at an altitude of 3888 m in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, about 141 km from the state capital of Srinagar is the famous Hindu shrine of Amarnath. The holiest of shrines and one of the 18 ‘Maha Shakti Peethas’, the Amarnath Cave is covered with snow for major part of the year except during summer when the cave is opened to public. Between May and August an ice Shiva ling forms inside the cave and then gradually melts away. Amarnath is a wonder; and a pilgrimage to the holy destination is a once in a lifetime experience. To know how to reach Amarnath in detail, read on.
The nearest airport or aerodrome to Amarnath is Srinagar, the beautiful capital of Jammu & Kashmir. From Srinagar there are government buses and private cabs that take tourists to Pahalgam, about 70 km from the capital. The journey to Amarnath Cave starts from Pahalgam. From here tourists have the option to trek the 45 km trail up to the cave which takes four days, with night halts at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and Panchtarni. From Panchtarni it is just 6 km to Amarnath. One can also avail of helicopter services from Baltal near Pahalgam to reach Amarnath.
Given its altitude, Amarnath does not have a railway station. The closest railhead is Jammu which is 178 km from Amarnath. From Jammu, tourists can avail of cabs or buses to reach either Baltal or Pahalgam. From here they have the option to trek up to Amarnath cave. From Baltal it is a 15 km trek while from Pahalgam it is 45 km. Helicopter services like Hans have operates flights to and from Baltal and Amarnath.
Given the treacherous nature of the terrain and surrounding landscapes, Amarnath is not very well connected by roads. The last places where buses and taxis have access to from Srinagar and Jammu are Baltal and Pahalgam. From here tourists have to depend upon trekking if they choose to go by foot. While Baltal is about 15 km from Amarnath, the trekking trail is difficult. Pahalgam to Amarnath trek takes longer, about 3-4 days but is considered safer for families and elderly people.
Getting by in Amarnath
The major attraction in Amarnath is the Cave. People brave the difficult terrain and weather for a glimpse of the Shiva linga. Apart from this there isn’t much to see and people have to move around by foot or atop ponies. Some also offer palanquin services carried by men.