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“Amarnath Yatra.....my experience.”
Review of Amarnath Cave

Amarnath Cave
Reviewed 14 July 2012

1.Taking the Pahalgaon route is more convenient in respect of the availability of hotels and other amenities like toilets,bathrooms,approachability and cleanliness.
2.Take the same route while coming back so that the luggage can be left safely in the hotel cloak room.
3.No need to carry too many eatables as per my experience as plenty of chai shops on the way and "Bhandaras"around the cave.
4.Take helicopter from Pahalgaon to Panchtarni and then going walking or by "palki" is the safest option.Ponywallas go very carelessly and least bothered about the safety of the yatri.Sometimes ponies also get slipped when it rains.
5.Palkis go till the last point possible.
6.BSNL connection works only intermittently.
7.Sufficient sanitation facilities are not available at Baltal even though there are umpteen camps here.
8.Carry as little stuff as possible during the yatra.
9.Weather is really unpredictable... sunny,cloudy,rainy....it changes within minutes.So,be prepared.
10.Not a very suitable yatra for children,physically impaired or unhealthy people.

These are my personal views and please make prior bookings before leaving e.g.yatra registration,health certificate,helicopter &hotel bookings etc.

162  Thank guptaeti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 July 2012

This is for people looking for journey via helicopter. I booked a package of 3N/4D through an agent. Now most important point - if you think if you can take the helicopter to the cave and come back the same day, forget about it. Its not possible. Luckily i booked 3 nights package. Some agents sell u 2 nights / 3 days package. DO NOT BOTHER TAKING THIS as you wont come back the same day. You will spend one night on top either at Panjtarni or at the cave. So i will now explain my journey/experience:

- Flew to Srinagar and drove to Sonmarg straightway. Its only 120 kms but can take upto 4 to 5 hrs due to traffic. After this drive, we stayed at Hotel Snowland (nice place) for 1 night. Our helicopter company was SUMMIT Aviation from Baltal and time given was 9.00 am but everybody advised us to reach at 5 am at Baltal incase there is first come first serve. As Murphy's law would have it, they had stopped FCFS. So had to wait till 9 am. There was chaos at the helipad but i soon understood that the agents dupe the passengers by lying about the helicopter services. There is so much of overbooking that there is no way one can take off at the time mentioned on the ticket. Also, the ticket says reporting time and not departure time so the helicopter company is safe. Anyway, when i go in at 9 am, i find that they are still transporting people of 7 am so my turn was far far away. After 3 hrs finally, i get the boarding pass and my turn comes at 12.30 pm. Am relieved just to be out of there. The chopper ride is 4 mins and you reach Panjtarni. Here it is where it starts going further downhill. The distance from Panjtarni to cave is 7 kms but there is such a big HUMAN jam that it took us 5 hrs to reach the cave place. And ofcourse it had to rain when we reached there so we had to run for cover. Temp dropped from +15 to 0 in no time. I booked a tent for me and my parents. Had a cup of tea and then went for darshan. Now if you have money, pls take a PALKI as they will help you avoid all queues etc and you will straightway reach the main cave on top and finish darshan in 30 mins. We really had fantastic darshan but the struggle did not end there. By the time we were free from darshan, it was 7 pm and getting dark. So we decided that we will spend the night in the tent that we had taken to protect us from rain. Normally its Rs 200 to Rs 300 per person in the tent. I paid Rs 1600 for the whole tent and shared with a few needy people who were in need of a shelter. Now, there are bhandara's on top for food but because we were so tired we decided to just sleep. BAD IDEA! Dehydration kicked in so bad for all of us and by this time water (ORS mixed) was so cold that we could not even drink it. It was horribly cold the whole night and we ended up shivering the whole night even though there were blankets. The bathroom facilities are the worst, stinkiest ever but i guess nobody wants to talk about this as its a pilgrimage. We somehow believe that suffering on these pilgrimages makes us worthy of the blessings. If there is no pain, we wont gain the blessings. I do not subscribe to these opinions.

Anyway, so we spent the whole night by counting minutes and seconds, drained because of dehydration, altitude sickness etc. A word of caution do not get excited or walk fast on top. Oxygen is really scarce and your heart will start pounding like it wants to come out to get some oxygen. At 4 am, me and my parents somehow used the toilet and spent couple of more hours in the tent. At 6 am, we finally left for the helipad at Panjtarni (7 kms). This time since it was way back, it only took 2 hrs but the same issue at helipad - backlog.from preivous day. Waited for 4 hrs at the helipad and finally came down at 12.45 pm. Counted my blessings that me and my parents came back safe and sound albeit completely broken and tired from the whole experience.

This yatra is for people who have incredible faith in god as it tests every ounce of that faith. Throws challenges that you are not ready for and most importantly is physically grueling. So if you were to embark on this journey thinking helicopter is your easy way out then u r in for a big disappointment. This journey, on foot, on horse, on palki or on helicopter is going to test you. NO EASY WAY OUT.......NO SHORT CUTS!!!

A word for the organisers - i know you guys do not have it easy with all the snow around but seriously you guys can improve the toilet facilities there. Basic hygiene is taken for granted which is sad.

Wishing all the best to the pilgrims wanting to embark on this arduous journey. MAY GOD GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH TO FINISH THIS and bring you back in ONE PIECE.

169  Thank jayendra00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2012

1. Ensure that your Return Helicopter Ticket is to the same place e.g.
a. If you Fly from Baltal then you must return to Baltal
b. If you fly from Pahelgam then must return to Pahelgam
i. The reason is you cannot carry your luggage in a helicopter and you can keep your luggage at the base camp from you fly and on return you can collect it
c. In a small sack carry enough cloths and other items that I recommended below
2. Srinagar to Baltal is 5 hours drive in normal circumstances however it can take up to 12 or 15 or more hours (in my case it was 14 hours on 25th June 2012)
3. Best way is Sri Nagar – Pahelgam – Srinagar via road as it takes just 3 hours and you have nice hotels at Pahelgam for stay. Helicopter from Pahelgam-Panchtarani-Pahelgam
4. Normally upon payment the travel agents sends you the helicopter tickets, your camping accommodation and other accommodation details/vouchers etc or any other place based on your itinerary via email and you need to take the printouts of them.
5. Note that Baltal is very dirty place
6. These are not the real swiss tents that you see in photos.
7. Tents do not have attached toilet.
8. You need to use common toilets. (Carry enough toilet papers, soap napkins etc)
9. Common toilets are Indian style and not western style. Many people have difficulty in sitting in Indian style toilets due to physical limitations. (e.g. I myself can’t sit in Indian toilet)
10. You may get warm water bottle for toilet use at cost
11. Be prepared to stay at Panchtarani even if your schedule is to return via helicopter on a same day. Many a times due to weather return helicopter does not take off
12. Sometimes Panchtarani to Cave take much longer (normal course 1 to 2 hours one way) and you even may not be able to return from Cave to Panchtarani on same day.
13. So be prepared to stay at Panchatarni and /or Cave for one day
14. At Panchtarani you will get shared tents Rs.500/- per couple, Full Tent Rs.2500/- (Year 2012)
15. Panchtarani to Cave and return by Pony/Mules Rs. 1000/- (Year 2012)
a. Remember when you reach top then your Pony/Mules guy disappears. He takes Rs. 500 from you and disappears and on return another Pony/Mules guy takes ranging from Rs.900 to 1500 from you. This is their way of earning more money
16. “Palakhi” rates are Rs. 3500/- two way (Year 2012)
17. “Palakhi” goes up to the cave
18. Pony/Mules do not go up to the cave and you have to walk 2 to 3 KMs one way
19. People get lost/departed from each other at Baltal, Panchtarani and Cave
20. Use public announcement system to call your lost/departed people
21. Before you start the holi trek decide within your group the meeting point in case get lost/departed (e.g. at Baltal – announcement place, at Panchtarani – Camp director office or Bhandara seva Kendra etc). You will not find issue of getting lost from each other at Pahelgam as you reach the helipad directly from your hotel.
22. Each team member must carry at least Rs. 5000/- to Rs.7000/- in his/her purse in case get lost/departed
23. Each team member must carry all the printouts of the helicopter tickets, other accommodation vouchers in case get lost/departed
24. You must carry 2 pair of shoes, enough socks as your shoes get wet. It’s all muddy and lot of Pony/Mules potty on the trekking path.
25. Carry rain coat and winter cloths as the climate at Baltal, Panchtarani goes down in minus anytime. During my trip on 26th June 2012 I saw snow fall.
26. “Darshan” at cave is bare feet
27. Carry – Dry fruits, apples, chocolates, cheese cubes to get calories and fat to get energy.
28. Carry – your regular medicines plus pain killers, pain relief spray, anti allergic tablets, stomach upset tablets, Crocin, Glucon - D etc
29. Carry – Torch, candles
30. Carry – Enough winter clothes for extended day
31. In case of traffic jams if your driver tells you that your camp is just 2 KMs away do not trust and do not try to walk it out (in my case on 25th June 2012 I was told the same and in fact the camp was 25 KMs away and military guys stopped me at 2.00 AM and put me in another Govt. vehicle which helped me to reach the camp)
32. When I reached Baltal, I could not even find where my tent is even after multiple announcements on the public address system (loud speaker) and I had to hire tent at additional cost.
33. My return helicopter ticket was from Panchtarani to Pahelgam and I did not know what should I do with my luggage. I had to hire a taxi @ Rs 3000 and trust the taxi guy and put my luggage in taxi and asked him to it at Srinagar boat house. He was trustworthy and dropped it at my houseboat.
34. Mobile phones do not work at Baltal, Panchtarani, and Cave area. Sometimes only BSNL network works. Note that there are no Local/STD/ISD booths. Carry roaming enabled BSNL SIM cards from your hometown with you. Note you cannot buy SIM cards in Kashmir instantly as it takes 10 days to get your SIM card activated due to security reasons. I found that my Vodaphone was working when I reach Pehelgam.
35. At Panchtarani – Medical help is available
36. At Panchtarani – “Bhandara” that is food as a “Prasad” is available. (Do not waste it, you must finish it or else take the quantity that you can finish). These people take lot of pain to serve this so please respect it.
I will not recommend this trip to people who are not physically fit and just based on relations obtaining medical certificates from their family doctors.
For senior citizens “palakhi” is recommended
Kids to this trip are absolutely “NO NO” is my recommendations.
Note the upward and downward trek is absolutely dangerous, the trek path is absolutely narrow and is “one way” in most of the cases and the military guys manage the one way traffic.
The valley on the other side on the narrow path is thousands of meters deep and if fallen down then near and dear ones will not even get a body for cremation.
Disclaimer : The above is my own opinion and experience and tips and does not have any intention to hurt anyone’s feelings. You may need to carry some additional items based on your requirements and the above list is just a recommendation based on my experience.
Almighty God Bless You. Om Namhaa Shivay !!!

158  Thank Swapneel_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2011

Dear viewers,
This year, in 2011, I and my wife were blessed with the darshan of lord Amarnathji.
It is rightly said in our mythology that if god does not call u then u can’t complete any pilgrimage.
Amarnathji yatra is a spiritual as well as adventurous yatra full of devotions and courage. Before going to yatra, I have made lot of net search but could not find the basic information for performing the yatra. Henceforth, I thought of the need to write my own experience and firsthand knowledge about yatra so as to help other devotees planning for the holy yatra.
All knows that Amarnathji holy cave is in Kashmir and for reaching there, u have to choose following means of travelling. Either, u can reach by flight directly to Srinagar from Delhi or u can reach Jammu railway station by train and then u have to travel either to Srinagar or Baltal by bus/sumo only. There are no train services between Jammu and Srinagar. The buses normally leave in the evening hours and after night journey of 09-10 hours (300 km), u reach to Srinagar or defined destination.
To start with, there are two routes for having darshan of Amarnathji, one from Pahalgam to holy cave which can be covered in three days with trekking of (15+14+6)35 kms and the other from Baltal to holy cave with trekking of 18 Kms. If you start early in the morning from Baltal, u can return back to Baltal after having darshan of sacred Amarnathji in a same day only.
Yatra starts from Baltal from 3 AM and onward journey by trekking takes around minimum 7-8 hours. The entire route is steep and therefore u has to take pause in between say after every 20-25 minutes to avoid palpitation and breath
lessness. This route is bit narrow and as devotees passes both to and fro (returning back after having darshan), many a times there occurs situation like traffic jams and u can’t move forward, and u have to wait till further clearance of the pathway.
U will find CRPF/ BSF jawans from Srinagar itself. They are guarding the entire highways and yatra route right from Jammu to Srinagar to Pahalgam to cave or from Cave to Baltal to Srinagar. They are guarding the valley day and night, the holy cave route. So, there is no need to fear or panic about visiting Kashmir. The moment U leaves Srinagar; U will find 3-4 jawans standing with AK 47 after every 200-300 meters. They are always happy to help the devotees and u can ask any dam queries to them. In the yatra period, they are also found to boost up your exhausting courage. We have seen soldiers taking sadhus without limbs on stretchers and completing their yatra or guiding personally the lost children to the base camps.
We started our yatra from pahalgam. There are good JKTDC luxury non-stop buses from Srinagar to Pahalgam costing Rs 195 each taking 3.5 hours for covering around 110 km with in-between halts of 45-60 min. U have to book the tickets from Tourist Reception Center (TRC), near Dalgate, Srinagar. The entire bus is booked from there only. We have booked the tkts a day before so as to have the middle order seats. The bus departed at 8.30 am and reached pahalgam at 11.45 am. One can have the option of hiring individual sumo at the cost of Rs 2300 (fixed price) opposite to TRC, from taxi stand.
The bus took us via Anantnag and after taking a in between halt for refreshing, we finally reached pahalgam. 2-3 km before pahalgam, there was first security check post in which we have to get down from bus with baggage, get our baggage and our self scanned, and then again drive to the main bus stand. After reaching there, u will see hundreds of vehicles standing in an open ground next to the Lidder River in a wonderful climate with chilled air, snow capped mountains and the lush green pine trees.
We had our room booked at Lidder Palace hotel, recognised by JK Govt available on net. It is good economical hotel (Rs 1200/night) to stay just beside the Lidder River at a distance of 1.5-2 km from bus stand. There are good hygienic pure veg AC restaurants near bus stand such as Dana pani, etc at economical rates of around Rs 125-150/person/lunch. As we were to start yatra the very next morning, therefore we decided not to go for sightseeing in pahalgam. We just visited horti-culture gardens there,, with picturesque flowers, plants and pine trees above and enjoyed our time beside crystal clear Lidder river next to our hotel.
There are base camps at pahalgam also, where u can stay at tents at Rs 200/bed and have good quality lunch and dinner at Langars. But we latter came to know that at base camp, they didn’t allow the pilgrims to move forward if there are large crowd to proceed. Actually, because of bad & unexpected weather condition, many a times, the yatra is stopped for 2-3 days. In our journey also, on 1, 2 & 3rd July, the yatra was suspended because of rain and snowfall at higher routes. Hence, on 4th July, when the weather got cleared, they allowed only those devotees who had done registration for the prior dates and not for 4th July. One should think this aspect also before staying in base camps. Otherwise, everything is perfect in camps.
Next morning at 5.30, we left our room and the moment we reached the road, we found many vehicles heading towards CHANDANWARI, the starting point of yatra. We took mini bus costing Rs 70 each to travel from Pahalgam to Chandanwari, the distance of around 16 kms in 50min. U can have sharing sumo at Rs 150/person from taxi stand. But whatever u get, just have it at first because they don’t allow yatris after 9am to proceed from Chandanwari ahead.
Do have sufficient money with you as u will not find any ATMs thereafter and as the trek is guarded by BSF & CRPF, so no chances of thieves. During journey, u will require minimal money for stay and foods, but if u require pony in between, then u have to pay them cash.
Take sufficient medicines basically muscle relaxants spray (like volini ) or simply MOOV spray to relieve cramps in legs, pain killers (like tab. combiflam), crocin, cetrizine, and most importantly, ORS or enerzal powders. Throughout our journey, we use to dissolve electral/enerzal powder in a litre of water, and continue with the trek with sips in between. We all require glucose and salts for better performance on the trek. There are langers and private stalls, but u may not find them for 3-4 kms in between. Also don’t forget to take good sunscreens with SPF (sun protection factor) >25 & also cold creams. It gets tanned badly at high altitudes.
U will also require good shoes for trekking. If u don’t have them, then shoes are sold at pahalgam at Rs 200 suitable for trekking (but my personal advise is have good sports shoes to avoid falls & sprain on snow and steep climbs). Winter jackets are also available there at cheap prices, but better to keep baggage weight as low as possible. U may face rain and snow storm any time in yatra. We carried rain coat and foldable umbrella with us. But in Chandanwari, u will find plain thin foldable polythene sheet in the shape of raincoat at just Rs 40. It is very essential and of negligible weight and can even fit in your pocket.
Don’t waste your time for doing breakfast in pahalgam. Just have a brush and bath and catch early possible vehicle for chandanwari. The moment u will land in chandanwari, u will hear loud speakers from Langars inviting u for breakfast & tea. We enjoyed hot choley bhature and tea of pure milk there and started the yatra.
The must thing for doing yatra here is having a STICK. U will find hundreds of peoples selling sticks en route at Rs 20 each. One end of the sticks are made pointed to have a better grip. But search for those sticks which have metal caps covering the pointed tips sold at same price so that there tips will not erode and u will have better hold while walking on ice. We found number of langers giving awala, lozenges, dry fruits, sweets while start of the yatra. The atmosphere there is full of enthusiasm with full volume songs of Lord Shiva from langers with cool and pleasant weather with no pollution at all.
One has to register himself for yatra in Jammu & Kashmir bank by filling the registration forms. Very limited forms are available for the specific dates for the given city. One can choose for the online registration also. At TRC, Dalgate, we found the registration process was going on personally for dates which were not available on net/bank. Surprisingly, we found spot registration process for the same day only in Chandanwari also, i.e. at the starting point of yatra. Though it is mentioned in news & notices that without registration no one will be allowed for darshan, but throughout the trek & darshan, no one checked our registration forms. But it is advisable to do the registration process to avoid tension/hurdles if any.
There are 4 ways to perform yatra. First by trekking (which we both opted for) or on pony for which govt charges are fixed right from starting point or by palki. The charges are clearly mentioned on big boards at the starting points. So don’t fall prey to the ponywalas. The palki charge Rs 13-14,000 for the entire route to holly cave to & fro as 4 persons are engaged with u while the ponywala charges from one point to other during trek or Rs 4-5000 for the entire trek. One may hire pony for carrying luggage but he may go ahead in the trek & it may happen that u will not get the required baggage in need. There are porters also who carries luggage or someone small children on shoulders.
And the fourth mean is by chopper (or helicopter) of pawanhans company recognized by JK govt. U can have chopper either from Pahalgam or Baltal to Panchtarni at Rs 7300 to & fro and from Panchtarni to holly cave is just 6 kms, peoples cover this by trekking or pony or palki. . One advantage of palki is that u don’t have to stand in a line for darshan; the palkiwalas directly take the devotee to the icelingam and then bring them back. There are palki walas in the foothill of holly cave and they may charge just Rs 400-500 for darshan without line. They call this VIP darshsan, but don’t fall prey to their offer. In palki, u can have a darshan for few seconds only as they are not allowed to stand near ice shivlingam. They just keep going.
After leaving chandanwari, we had to climb pissu top, i.e from 8700 ft to 10,500ft. This part of the yatra we found the most difficult to climb as there are no roads & one have to climb steep mountains. From all our experience, we learned that don’t ever take shortcuts for steep climbs, instead take those more lengthy tracks which basically the palki walas choose as they are less exhaustive. Keep on chanting the name of Jai Bhole & he will help u to climb any odds.
For reaching pissu top (just 4km), we took 4 hours. In between we found private stalls selling nimbu pani or bisleri Rs30, or cold drink 300ml for Rs 40-50. After reaching pissu top and almost exhausted, we found one langer serving hot rice & dal with sweets & also tea biscuit. Temporary toilets for are erected there. After pissu top, we didn’t find such steep climbs that day. The remaining trek is of ups and downs with sometime we have to walk on ice. We walked for around 15 km that day. At the end of day at 6.30 pm, we finally reached sheshnag, one of the most beautiful place I have ever seen. A large lake surrounded by snow capped mountains; it is said that few lucky devotes can see a creature with three horn like structure floating in the lake & i.e. the Shesnag.
Anyway, we found rented tent there for Rs 160/person in sharing basis with 10 fellow pilgrims. Individual jungle tent for a couple is also available for Rs 800. One can have extra rajai/kambal on payment of Rs 100. There are many temporary toilets erected there & u can have warm water for Rs 10 for 1 litre for mouth wash, etc. At the night, we experienced the temp. at shesnag touching minus figures. Don’t forget to take extra pair of cotton socks and woollen caps. U may need them during trek but will surely need them at night. Hot food stuffs are available at the langars. One of the gentle tent owners made arrangement in their kitchen tent for only two of us.
There are no electricity/bulbs in the tents. U will find kerosene lantern & do take LED torch with u. There are generators in langars & campus of tents. Sunset occurs very late i.e. after 8 pm. In Srinagar, only post paid mobile phone works & during the yatra, only BSNL postpaid mobile fon has connectivity. We found connectivity at all base camps & also on & off during the trek. It is must to have as it helps your beloved one to get free of worries at home. We saw many coin box phones in the route also.
Next day, we started a little late in the morning as no deadlines to move & reach were in front of us. We climbed to Mahaguna top which is at the height of 14200 feet from 11700 feet (sheshnag). After reaching Mahagunas top, the remaining route was full of down only as we were decending from 14200 to 12000 feet (panchtarni – the 2nd night stay). The trek after Mahagunas is just mindblowing. We have seen many falls both big & heighted, mountains with glaciers, flowers carpeting entire mountains. The peaks of snow Cladded Mountains which we were seeing from below, we were actually walking over them. We have to walk over ice, & there that metal capped sticks were of utmost usefulness.
In between we have to cross a river which was not more than 4-6 inches deep. We saw peoples tossing over stones to cross without wetting their shoes but all were in vain. The problem was that if you step in water of river, though few inches deep only, but it will wet your sports shoes & u has to trek the remaining part wearing wet shoes, & u may then catch cold. We therefore took our shoes off & crossed the ice water river bare footed but it saved our socks & shoes.
In the midway at pashpotri 12500 ft, we saw a langar managed by shiv sainik, delhi. There were atleast 10 types of sweets all in pure ghee, snacks, lunch, dosa, golgappe, hyderabadi biryani, pizza, shakes, kulfi etc etc. It was like we were on some marriage party. Having those items at such height was really astonishing. And all the items were hygienic. U can have as many food items as many times u wish of but u can’t leave waste in your plate or they will straight forward fine u Rs 500. & that should be obvious because taking such huge quantity of food items to such a great height with pony requires great effort.
We reached Panchtarni at 7 pm. There are sufficient no. of tents in all base camps, so no need to hurry in the trek to book them. There are 2500 & 1500 tents each accompanying 10 person in shesnag & panchtarni respectively. The cost per tent is 225/person here & the rates are fixed by association, so no bargaining is expected.
The next day, we woke up early at 5 am & after little breakfast, left for the holy cave which was 6 km from Panchtarni. The climate was clear right from the beginning & we were very excited to have the darshan. We took 3 hours to reach cave. There was a huge line of around 1 km there but it was moving fast. It took three hours in line to have darshan. There were stalls beside line selling Prasad & u have to deposit mobile phone, cameras, baggage there as they are not allowed inside the cave premises. The shop keeper gave us a receipt of the items deposited mentioning no. of mobile, camera etc. They keep on saying that there are no shops ahead but actually, there were shops till the gate of cave where also u can keep ur baggage & that way it will help u to take photographs atleast of cave. Just at the foot of the cave only, there is the stall of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board selling Prasad & keeping baggage.
We have to climb some 30-40 steps to enter the huge open cave. From distance also, we could have darshan of shiv lingam. There was rush but we could have darshan till our satisfaction i.e. say for total 3-4min & not like of tirupati balaji or vaishnav devi darshan. We were lucky to see 2 pigeons at the creeps of the cave above. No camera is allowed, so no photography. We then took the sacred water from a little down near the nandi bail open idol. Plastic cans are sold at stalls.
Thereafter, after taking some food at langar & collecting our baggage, we started our return journey for Baltal base camp which was 18 km from holy cave. And there we made the most dreaded mistake. Actually, there are two routes going to Baltal from cave, out of which one is a little shortcut. U must have heard that shortcut is always wrong cut, & so was the route in between of hardly 100-150meters, very steep with 5-6 curves & no fencing was there on curves. It was so steep that we could not walk by standing & we have to creep & take the support of rocks beside to move ahead. If our legs had slipped, then we would have fallen in 2000-2500 feet deep valley. Once I found that I could not move my legs seeing that deep height behind then someone in the form of bholenath only helped me from behind to support me & push me from back to creep ahead. I have not seen his face that time but have only heard his voice, encouraging me & helping me out.
After we made the path, the pilgrims who were from safer route told us that it was like the death trap & many accidents & casualties have occurred on that path. On asking the way, one of the CRPF personal only told us about that route but embarrassingly, nothing dangerous was written on any notice board on that route. When you will plan for darshan,then please never ever dare to go by that route. Instead the safer route goes side by side for few kms parallel to the route for panchtarni only.
The return route via baltal is not as picturesque as the pahalgam route. It was narrow road with ponies making lots of dust & pollution with their dunk. We have to come down to baltal, so little climbs were there. Masks are sold there to take fresh air but it makes respiration difficult. We found few rain showers on the return way, but it made the climate pleasant by wetting the dust particles on road. Baltal is actually the military base camp 14 km from cave, but the camp for yatri is 3 km ahead of military camp. By trekking it took us 7 hours to reach from cave to baltal yatri camps. In hills, we experienced that we think to walk a lot but at the end we came to know that we had walked only 2-3 kms. Anyway, just keep on walking uttering the name of jai bhole & he definitely helps u.
There were many big langars at baltal. We stayed that night in one of the langar only in a cozy environment. Infact, they forcibly took us to the langar from road & there we were pleased by heart to meet the organizers of Langar (Shri Shiv Sewa Mandal Trust, Tohana, Fatehabad), Mr Rajinder Sharma, Mr Surinder Singh & many others. Walking for 24 kms & standing in line for 3 hours totally drenched our stamina & we were having severe cramps in our legs. It was like bholenath blessing only that peoples were taking care of unknown peoples like us, serving food, tea, and making arrangement to sleep comfortably. These peoples running langars are staying there for the entire tenure of yatra (1.5 month), helping pilgrims, serving good food free of cost & pursuing every possible measure to take care of unknown devotees with no expectation in return. They are actually doing a great & noble job.
Next day, after breakfast, we bade goodbye to Mr Sharma & Singh & started our journey for Sonmarg, just 16 km from Baltal, where we had already booked our room in JKTDC Alpine resorts. Bus stand is just 1 Km from base camp & Govt buses for Srinagar runs after every 30 mins. Private bus stand was a km ahead from here where luxury bus for Srinagar, Jammu, and Punjab were standing. From the bus stand, we took the video CD of bholenath life story & marriage named Shiv Bum Lahiri. In most of the langars in past 3 days, we were hearing the same CD on loud speakers. Though other people may or may not like it but every yatri will definitely love to refresh the memories of yatra later in life.
We have found many peoples who were coming for consequetive 6-7 years for yatra. The words bhole addressing yatri & hosssh (uttered by ponywala meaning dekho or just see ) were audible in our return flights also. Overall, we are glad that we could make the entire yatra by foot & could have the blessings of Barfani baba, Bholenath. It is really a life time experience & I strongly believe that everyone should have darshan, at least once in his lifetime till his age & body permits.
I hope that though a lengthy blog, but it will help my fellow pilgrims a lot to plan a darshan of Baba Barfani. Wishing u all a very happy & healthy life..

358  Thank dr_aashish77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2010

Wednesday 21,2010
I like to go to Amarnath yatra . Its lacted in srinagar, india..
Whenever you go to that place go through a place known as baltal from where the amarnath yatra starts. Go by walking is better for travel by a narrow road which is mostly 40 - 50 km far. Please be carefull when walking because sometimes rain comes and there will a landslide happen any time. When you reached the aim . You will find many tents and food shops, bhandaras where people come from different states and give food to travellers for free of cost.
There you can get a tent at cost Rs. 300 to 700 per tent. There are medical facilities provided by Indian Army. There is a Helipad form you can go back to baltal by booking ticket from baltal itself. There is a tight security given by J & K Police force. So once again a happy journey to you all who are going to this beautiful place.
Thank you.

58  Thank Minku16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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