9 Things To Keep In Mind For The Amarnath Yatra
The Amarnath Yatra makes you traverse some stunning paths of the Himalayas, and is quite a journey for your body and soul. While it’s full of adventure, it is certainly not a trek you take for fun. If you or someone you know plans to embark on this holy pilgrimage, here are 9 important travel tips that need to be kept in mind for the trip.
Also Read – Everything You Need To Know About Amarnath Yatra
#1 Shared Taxis & Helicopter Rides Make It Convenient
Jammu to Pahalgam takes about 8 hours in a taxi and about 13 hours in a bus. Further, there are shared taxis available between Pahalgam and Chandanwari. Once you reach Chandanwari, hordes of horses and palanquins (dolis) wait for you to choose them. For those short on time, helicopter rides are available from Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam and Baltal-Panjtarni-Baltal. These are not very expensive and fall between 2,000 to 5,000 INR.
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#2 Restrictions On Children, Elders & Women
Children below the age of 13 are not allowed to go forward on this trek, nor are senior citizens above the age of 75 years. Ladies who are more than six weeks pregnant are also not permitted. Restrictions apart, it is not uncommon to see people of different age groups give their all to the journey, along with handicapped people, and pilgrims who undergo the whole trek bare-footed. There will be a lot of sadhus too, who mostly walk all the way. There is a limit on the number of yatris who are allowed to go for the yatra on a particular day and these dates are allotted from before.
#3 Your Food & Water In Amarnath Yatra Is Taken Care Of
The bhandaras (langars) are present along the trekking route and they provide a variety of food free of cost. They cook rice, roti, curries, idlis, dosas, and even chowmein! Refreshments are available and they also offer dry fruits and chocolates on your way out. Water is available enough for everyone, and you will even get hot water. Outside the cave, there is a local bazaar which sells Kashmiri saffron, almonds, apricots, and other goods.
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#4 Tented Accommodations En-Route
Most of the accommodation through the trail is in tents. Nunwan in Pahalgam is where it starts. Pitching a tent along Lake Sheshnag shouldn’t be a problem, though be prepared to find it overcrowded. Tents have basic mats and blankets, along with sleeping bags to face the biting wintry cold.
Also Read – Secrets Of Amarnath Caves
#5 Carry Clothes For The Chilly Weather In Your Amarnath Yatra
The cold and breeze of Kashmir can be quite harsh, and add the monsoons to that. Carry lots of woollens, a full-sleeve sweatshirt, a sweater, a wind-stopper, a raincoat, and a torch. Don’t be embarrassed when you see yatris in slippers, dhotis, and sarees.
#6 Shoes For Amarnath Yatra
The best shoes that travellers or pilgrims can wear are the waterproof boots or shoes for their Amarnath Yatra. It is highly advisable because these shoes are generally made of plastic, rubber or other non-porous material that can be easily immersed in snow and water. These boots will also protect you if you are exposed to slippery snow.
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#7 Compulsory Medical Examination
From 2014, it became mandatory to undergo a medical examination before starting the yatra. Without obtaining the medical certificate you will not be permitted to go ahead. Even for the helicopter ride, you have to get a compulsory health certificate. The medical certificates are obtained from doctors prescribed by the Amarnath Shrine Board.
#8 No Photography & No Littering
Once inside the Holy Cave, your cameras are not allowed to be used. Photography is banned inside. Since you are in the lap of nature’s best, littering is severely discouraged. The volunteers work very hard to ensure that the environment is kept clean and not ruined by the influx of tourists. Please keep a tab on the guidelines provided by the Indian Army for the Amarnath Yatra, and ensure they are followed.
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#9 Amarnath Yatra Preperation – Health & Fitness
Amarnath Yatra requires pilgrims to get quite high up in altitude. The Mahagunas Pass stands at 14,500 feet above sea level. Altitude sickness need not hinder your progress towards the spiritual caves as long as you make sure to keep physically and mentally fit. Drink lots of water, eat well, and sleep well. Don’t rush on the trek, take it slow and steady. While most of the terrain is quite flat, there are a couple of places where you have to ascend steeply and continuously along the well-defined trails.
Amarnath Yatra Kit – Things To Carry / Packing List
- A few pairs of warm clothes
- Raincoat/ Umbrella
- Wind-Cheater Jacket
- Warm socks
- Monkey cap
- Waterproof hiking boots/ shoes
- Water bottle
- Trekking stick or pole
- First aid kit – all your daily medicine
- Sunscreen and Sun hat
- Insect repellent
- Lip cream / Moisturizer / Cold cream
- Flash light (Torch) with spare battery
- Toilet paper
The Amarnath Yatra is not just another regular hike. This route has special significance because Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati chose this path to reach a cave where they had had one of the most interesting conversations about immortality. Read about it here.
Before embarking on this journey, keep your physical stamina at an all time high. Do not neglect the faith and belief, which you will eventually carry all the way through the challenging terrain, till the Holy Cave and back. Remember that, and you will surely return an altered being.
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