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Holy Amarnath Caves – a Sacred Place for Devotees in India

By Ajay Kumar Subscribe to RSS | April 20th 2012 | Views:

Amarnath, a holy shrine for Hindus, is a part of four sacred places popularly known as "Chardham". The last leg of journey to reach this shrine is arduous, but devotees dare the odds and visit the place. Inside the Amarnath cave, every year in the months of July-August, an idol of Lord Shiva in the form of "Shivalingam" is formed from ice.

Amarnath is one religious place which is a must visit on every Hindu devotee's tour itinerary. Pilgrims undertake Amarnath yatra between the months of July and August. During this period, a "Lingam," which is a symbolic image of Lord Shiva is formed naturally from ice Stalagmite inside the Amarnath cave. Except for this brief period, one cannot see the image of Lord Shiva anytime during the rest of the year. Amarnath is one among twelve holy shrines where Lord Shiva is said to reign.

You can reach Amarnath only by trekking the last leg of the journey, which is a 42 km long stretch. For the old and aged, this was considered a challenge. But this does not prevent many from undertaking the journey because of the holy significance of the place. Nowadays, reaching the place is easy and for those who can afford, there is Amarnath yatra helicopter service arranged by the state government. What is important is that devotees cannot undertake the trip without prior registration. For this, Amarnath yatra registration form is available online.

The most travelled route starts from Pahalgam in Kashmir. This leg of the tour is mostly undertaken on foot. It takes about 4 or 5 days to cover the distance. From this angle, Amarnath yatra really tests the endurance of devotees. Of late, an alternate route from Baltal is also available to reach Amarnath. In the earlier days, even the elderly devotees had no other option but to trek the distance. For those who could afford, a manual service carrying pilgrims in makeshift palanquin type chairs for a price was available. Now things have improved and Amarnath yatra by helicopter services are available wherein devotees can fly from Pahalgam to Amarnath.

However, pilgrims are advised to follow certain guidelines during the last leg of Amarnath yatra. It is advised to carry sufficient woolen garments as the weather will be windy and chilly. Ladies are advised to wear pants or salwar suits instead of a sari. As the weather abruptly changes from sunny to cloudy or even rainy, one has to be physically and prepared for it. Even though food and snacks are available on the way, pilgrims are advised to carry biscuits and food items with them. Further, since the route is hazardous, it is recommended that devotees insure themselves.

Registration for the tour commences one month in advance. So, pilgrims have to register themselves by filling up the Amarnath yatra registration form which is available online. The route up to the shrine is narrow and treacherous. In order to be safe, you need to follow guidelines prescribed by authorities. As it is a high altitude environment, make sure you are medically and physically fit for the trek, other it is advisable to opt for Amarnath yatra helicopter services.

As the pilgrims cannot visit Amarnath all round the year, there will be huge rush to visit the place during the limited available time. In order to regulate the rush, authorities have put in place a registration process. It is in the best interest of pilgrims to register by filling the Amarnath yatra registration form online. Along with Amarnath, one can also visit Shesnag which is famous for the mountain with seven peaks, which resembles "Sheshnag"- a mythical seven headed snake.

Ajay Kumar - About Author:
Visit to the most revered holy place Amarnath is limited to about 45 days in a year. So, pilgrims undertaking Amarnath Yatra must plan their trip well in advance by registering themselves online through Amarnath yatra registration form. As the last leg of 45 km of the tour is very strenuous, those who are not physically and medically fit are advised for Amarnath Yatra by helicopter services.

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