Located at an altitude of about 3,888 meters, Amarnath cave is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for the Hindus. Officially, the Amarnath yatra begins every year on the auspicious day of Skanda Shasti (June/July) and lasts till Shravan Purnima, the day of Raksha Bandhan (August). Thousands of pilgrims from all over India visit Amarnath to seek the blessings of 'Baba Barfani', who is also known as Lord Amarnath. Also, there are two major routes that lead to the divine caves of Amarnath.
If you are looking for a spiritual trip to Amarnath, then scroll down to get detailed information about the best routes and how to reach Amarnath by Train, Flight , Road.
It is the most convenient way to travel to Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport, Srinagar. This is the nearest airport from the base camp of the Amarnath Yatra trek. Srinagar airport is well connected to the major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu, Chandigarh, and Kolkata.
The holy journey to Amarnath can be undertaken by two routes, via Pahalgam and Baltal. Srinagar airport to Pahalgam is about 90 km whereas Baltal is about 107 km away. After reaching the airport one can board the government bus or hire a private cab to reach Pahalgam or Baltal base camps.
As the cave is located in a mountainous region at an altitude of about 13,000 ft, there is no direct connectivity via road. Jammu and Srinagar are the nearest cities if you wish to travel to Amarnath by road. Once entering the city, the only way to reach Amarnath caves is by trekking or taking a helicopter ride. Baltal and Pahalgam are the two base camps from where the holy journey begins. Trekking via Baltal usually takes 1 to 2 days to reach the caves, and it is one of the shortest routes but a difficult one. Whereas trekking via Pahalgam is the most common route taking, it takes 3 to 5 days to reach the holy caves of Amarnath.
There are no direct trains that connect Amarnath. The nearest station is Jammu Tawi, which is located about 384 km from The holy cave of Amarnath. The Jammu Tawi railhead is well connected to the major cities of India. After reaching the station one can hire cabs to reach either Baltal or Pahalgam.
How to reach Amarnath From Baltal by helicopter, by foot
This is one of the shortest and most popular routes preferred by many pilgrims. Baltal is a famous base camp, which is frequently taken by adventure enthusiasts. There are difficult paths en route, which lead to the holy cave offering stunning views and an excellent trekking lift. One can reach Srinagar by road from Jammu and head towards Baltal via Sonamarg. Pilgrims can also hire ponies or palkies to reach the divine cave from the Baltal base camp.
1. Amarnath Yatra Trek By Foot Via Baltal
The trek starts from the Baltal base camp, which is about 14 kilometers away from Amarnath cave. Trekking to this path is pretty challenging due to lofty paths and straight climbing. The first halt, Domail is about 2 km from base camp and the next stop is the Barari Marg, which is 5 kilometers away from Domail. After trekking about 4 km you will reach Sangam. And after an additional 3 km trek, you will reach Amarnath Cave.
Trekking via Baltal usually takes 1 to 2 days to reach the caves and therefore, it is advised not to select this route if you are traveling with senior family members, kids, or a pregnant woman.
- Trekking routes: Baltal - Domail - Barari Marg - Sangam - Amarnath
Note: Food and accommodation facility is not available on this route
2. Baltal to Amarnath by Helicopter
It is one of the quickest and best ways to reach Baltal to the holy cave of Amarnath. You can board a chopper at Neelgrath helipad (Neelgrath- Panjtarni). From the helipad, the cave is situated at 6 km. Pilgrims can trek or hire a pony/ palki to reach the divine cave from the Panjtarni helipad. The tickets can be booked from the official website of SASB (Shri Amarnath Shrine Board).
How to reach Amarnath from Pahalgam by helicopter, by foot
Pahalgam route is the oldest, widest, and cleanest route for Amarnath Yatra. It takes about 2- 3 days to reach the holy cave of Amarnath via the Pahalgam route. Also, the path is not so challenging as compared to Baltal. Located on the banks of the Lidder River, Pahalgam is a small town, which is renowned for its striking natural beauty.
1. Amarnath Yatra Trek By Foot Via Pahalgam
Pahalgam is the base camp of the trek, which is situated at 47 km from Amarnath Cave. Pilgrims can embark on the holy sojourn of the Amarnath Yatra by foot. The first halt is about 16 km away from the base camp at Chandanwari after which the real trek starts. The next stop is the Pissu Top at 3 kilometers after which, you will reach Sheshnag at 9 km. After Sheshnag the next stop is Panjtarni, which is 14 km away. After an additional 6 km of the trek, you will reach the holy cave. Trekking via Pahalgam will take you 3 to 5 days to reach the holy caves of Amarnath.
- Trekking Routes: Pahalgam - Chandanwari - Pissu Top - Sheshnag- Panchatarni - Amarnath Cave
2. Pahalgam to Amarnath Yatra by Helicopter:
One can easily board the helicopter at the Pahalgam helipad (Pahalgam-Panjtarni Sector). The cave is located 6 km from the helipad. Pilgrims can cover the distance on foot or they can hire a pony/ palki from Panjtarni helipad to Amarnath cave. Tickets can be booked from the official website of SASB (Shri Amarnath Shrine Board). Due to extended distance, Pahalgam-Panjtarni Sector is relatively more expensive than the Neelgrath (Baltal)-Panjtarni.
Distance to Major cities:
|Panjtarni to Holy Cave||6 km||2-3 hours (on foot)|
|Neelgrath to Panjtarni||14 km||10-15 min by helicopter|
|Pahalgam to Chandanwari||16 km||1 hours by car/bus|
|Pahalgam to Pissu Top||16 km||1 hours by car/bus|
|Sheshnag to Panjtarni||14 km||8 hours (on foot) & 4- 5 hours by Pony|
|Chandanwari to Sheshnag||12 km||6 hours (on foot) & 3- 4 hours by Pony|
|Srinagar to Pahalgam||90 km||3 hours (by car/bus)|
|Srinagar to Baltal||100 km||3 hours (by car/bus)|
|Sonamarg to Pahalgam||162 km||5 hours (by car/bus)|
|Sonamarg to Baltal||14 km||25 min (by car/bus)|
|Baltal to Amarnath||14 km||8 hours (on foot) & 4- 5 hours by Pony|
|Pahalgam to Amarnath||48 km||1- 2 days (on foot)|
Amarnath Yatra Tips:
- Plan your Amarnath Yatra only if you are physically fit.
- Due to the high altitude, the weather remains cold, so carry woolen clothes.
- Wear a good pair of waterproof trekking shoes.
- Wear comfortable clothes so that you can easily trek.
- It is advised to hire ponies to carry your luggage.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Apply cold cream or moisturizer frequently.
- It is advised to go for a trek in a group.
- Do not take any shortcuts on the route. It can be dangerous.
- The use of plastics is strictly outlawed in the State and is punishable.
- Keep emergency notes, especially if you are traveling with your kids.
- Do not litter anywhere during the Yatra.
- Do not take halts at places, which are marked by warning signs.