Shri Amarnath Yatra
"The Himalayan pilgrimages are the oldest organised travel system, evolved over time by Hindu sages and embodying the spirit of wander, adventure and spirituality".
Shri Amarnath ShivlingamOne of the Holy trinity, Lord Shiva is a living God. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the 'Rig Veda' evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time.
Lord Shiva is known to have made his adobe in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his consort, Goddess Parvati . He was an ascetic, and yet married; He could be both for "He is the God sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud."
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Shri Amarnathji Cave Shrine stands at 3,888 m and is 45 km from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribes that the yatra be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin the journey from Pahalgam, and cover the distance to Shri Amarnathji and back in four or five days. Pahalgam is 96 km from Srinagar. In recent times the Baltal route via Sonamarg has also become very popular because of its short distance track (although very steep) to the Holy Cave of Shri Amarnathji.
The base points for the pilgrim's trek are picturesque Pahalgam and Sonamarg, a large tented township springs up to accommodate the pilgrims at both these locations. The conduct of the yatra is a gigantic task in which the Jammu & Kashmir State Government takes the assistance of the security departments for providing security and helping to keep the route open. All intermediate halting places have the same kind of facilities as are provided at Pahalgam and Baltal. These days Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) conducts and coordinates all the pilgrimage related activities.
The Yatra is organised in the month of Shravan and commences from Pahalgam & Baltal on specified dates.