LOCATIONAmarnath situated at an altitude of 3888 m above sea level is about 145 km from Srinagar, the capital of the North Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
LOCATIONAmarnath is also referred by the name 'Amareshwara' which is mentioned in the Rajatarangini.References of Amarnath is also been mentioned by Kalhana and its sequel 'Rajataringini' that talks about the records of Kashmir. However the early history of this pilgrim destination dates back to the times of Aryaraja (34 BCE to 17 CE) who used to spend his summers here worshipping an 'ice lingam'. During those days the location of this place was beyond the forest area. The famous Shah Kol canal situated here was constructed by Sultan Zain'l-abidin who frequently visited the city during the years 1420 1470.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Pahalgam is the starting point of the annual Amarnath yatra to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath.This is where, Hindus believe, Lord Shiva explained the secret of salvation to his consort Parvati on a full moon light. Every year in the month of July/August when the moon is full thousands of devout pilgrims gather before Amarnath Cave in the Liddar valley to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The holy cave of Amarnath is situated inside a steep cliff at an altitude of 4,000mts.It measures about 45 m (150 feet) high, 27 m (90 feet) long and faces south. A massive ice lingam inside the cave waxes and wanes with the phases of moon.
There is another ice formation on the left side of the lingam which is worshipped as Ganesha, and on the right there is another ice formation which is worshipped as Parvati.
Pilgrims visiting here are given Vibhuti or holy ash.
The Ice Lingam
In Amarnath there is an Ice Lingam that changes its size with different seasons, and also with the moon, as its waxes and wanes.
The lingam attains its maximum height of about 6 feet on the full moon day and hence on this day in the month of July-August,
a festival is held here when the lingam attains its maximum height for it is strongly believed that Lord Shiva appeared on this day.
Pahalgam is the base for the religious trek to the abode of Lord Shiva. A narrow spiralling path from Panchtarni leads to the Amarnath Cave. Though the voyage to the cave is quite adventurous and demanding it is worth going to Amarnath, the most acclaimed pilgrimage spot. The Amarnath Yatra in the month of Shravan is officially organized by the Jammu Kashmir government. This place witnesses landslides and other natural calamities quite often, but still it doesnt prevent the devotees from undertaking this holy pilgrimage since the darshan of the Shiv Lingam is considered to be very sacred.Amarnath Yatra proffers a unique opportunity to all those who undertook the arduous journey since it gives the pleasure of being in the midst of gorgeous nature. Weeks supply of essential commodities and provisions should be carried along with. Also necessary tinned food, a thermos, torch, raincoat, waterproof shoes, heavy woollens, gumboats, walking stick and first aid equipments should be taken. All requirements are available at Pahalgam.The entire yatra is usually completed within 5 to 6 days.
OTHER NEARBY ATTRACTIONS
Chandanwari is the place from where the famous Amarnath yatra starts which is about 16kms from Pahalgam.
The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by car.Pahalgan is situated at an altitude of 6,500 above sea level and is famous for its snow bridge.
The journey to this place is the main highlight and it is really wonderful.
The waters of this greenish blue lake are covered with ice till June. According to the Hindu mythology the sacred snake Sheshnag has seven heads and this is how the place having seven peaks derives its name Sheshnag.
Sheshnag lake is situated at an altitude of 11,330 ft above sea level and at a distance of 13 km from Chandanwari.
On the way to Amarnath this is the last camping site and it is the place where five streams meet from where it derives its name Panchtarni.
Panchtarni is situated at a distance of about 6 kms from Amarnath.
If the pilgrims coming here are very particular about shopping then they can do so at Pahalgam which is noted for wool and wool products.Gabbas and Namdas can be purchased from local shops.The shopping list here also includes jewellery boxes to mirror frames, a range of intricately carved walnut wood furniture and accessories, stone jewellery boxes, beautiful woollen shawls, crewel embroidery on furnishing material sold by the meter and more.
A number of Dhabas and small wayside tea shops are set up at the halting stations of the Yatra by private parties during the yatra days.Apart from this there are good eat outs in the nearby town Pahalgam and they are
Besides hotels,number of private houses,huts and tents are available in Pahalgam.During the Yatra to the Amarnath cave pilgrims can stay overnight at tented camps along the routes. Panchtarni, which is the last stop before the holy cave, is where pilgrims can stay at night and visit the Amarnath Cave during the day, before beginning their return journey.Some of the other decent places to stay either before the Yatra or after at Pahalgam are
The nearest Airport is away in Badgam Distt. This Airport is connected with major cities of India.
The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu which is 300 Kms away and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with country.
Every sort of transport to suit every budget from Buses to Taxis ply on the NH1A Highway. It takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountaineous road which crosses some beautiful spots and the famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with country.