Thursday, 19 June 2014

PART 1 :TRAVEL GUIDE FOR AMARNATH YATRA - Journey Tale of Both tracks (Pahalgam and Baltal)

PART 1 :Preparations and General instructions for the Yatra

When I wrote my first travelogue titled “My 12th Amarnath Yatra report “   on my Blog, I received many e-mails having a lot off queries. Question and queries asked were of different nature and I replied all of them as per my knowledge. Although the first TR was written in short format and six day journey was concluded in just two posts, yet it got the warm response from the readers and people who are planning to visit.Though It has been already shared immensely  in a short span  but it lacked in the terms of information. So, I decided to write one more travelogue on Amarnath Yatra with detailed information covering both tracks of Pahalgam and Baltal so that all question and queries can be clubbed and answered at one point. As the Yatra is starting this year on 28th June, I will try to finish this series before the commencement of Shri Amarnath Yatra-2014 so that it can help all the persons willing to perform Yatra (specially the first timers).
Before I start my actual TR, let me explain the structure of my TR
    Center of this series will be the Yatra of 2010 during which we covered both tracks; Pahalgam track for ascend and Baltal track for descend.
  • Some pictures shown in the series are of other than the year 2010 and have been used for reference.
  • My trips are always remains on a budget. Hence, those who want to make this Yatra on a grand scale and splurge lot of money, this Report may not suit their requirements;
  • In my report I will comment and record my observation purely on my personal experience, which may or may not match the experience of other visitors;
Let us start with some Useful information for The Amarnath Yatra 2014:
The Amarnath Yatra 2014:
Dates (28th June to 10th  Aug.) have been already announced for The Amarnath Yatra 2014 and duration has been extended to 44 Days. 

Important Changes for Amarnath Yatra 

                           Apart from announcing the Amarnath Yatra Duration and Schedule, there are many other important decisions taken since the year 2013.

1) Medical Certificate is Compulsory: With Supreme Court coming hard on the Shrine Board and J&K Govt. for over 100 Deaths of yatris during the Amarnath Yatra 2012, it has now been decided that No Yatri will be registered without the Health Certificate.

A format of the Health Certificate is prepared by team of Doctors and To check the issuance of fake Medical Certificates, the Shrine Board had asked the States & UT's to identify the Doctors, who would be authorized to issue the health Certificates

It is also decided that Medical Certificates issued only after 1st Feb, by authorized doctors will be considered valid.
2)  Online Registration to be Dis-continued:  Following reports, that a large number of pilgrims, managed to get fake E-Yatra permit cards, it is now decided by Shrine Board to discontinue the Online Registration facility in 2013. Now the only way for getting the registration done, is offline at the designated Yatra registration counters. This year, the registration Process has been started much earlier since 1st  march 2014 as a convenience to yatris for completing the Yatra formalities (Like Getting the Required Health Certificate, Obtaining the Yatra Registration form, submitting the form etc).  Remember the registration will be done on only First-Come-First-Serve basis. The Registration Process will run simultaneously for Both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes.

3) Secure Permit Cards in 2014:  Shrine Board plans to bring additional Yatra Permit Cards to facilitate Police Personnel Deployed at access gates in Domel and Chandanwari.  Yatra Permit is the mandatory document for performing the Amarnath Yatra . Without the Yatra permit the pilgrims will not be allowed to perform the Yatra.

4) Age Limit Specified: For the first time in the History of Amarnath Ji Yatra, Upper and Lower Age Limits have been specified for the yatris. Those who are below 13 years and those above 75 years, are debarred from undertaking the Holy Pilgrimage. Moreover, pregnant women with over Six week of Pregnancy cannot perform the Yatra .

5) Medical Aid Centers: To look after the health of Ailing pilgrims on the Yatra track, Boards plans to set up Medical Aid Centers (MAC's) after every 2 kms en-route to shrine. 

6) Rescue Teams En-Route: Mountain Rescue Teams will also be placed at identified places on the Route to help pilgrims climb the steep Mountains.

What you need to Obtain for Amarnath Yatra Registration?

Yatris intending to undertake Amarnath Yatra in 2013 must obtain the following Documents before proceeding for Yatra Registration

1) Yatra Registration Form: The Registration will be done through the Yatra Registration form. The Registration form can be downloaded from the Official Website of Shri Amarnath ji Shrine Board.

2) Health Certificate: Since 2013 Yatra, Health Certificate from authorized Doctor is made compulsory by SASB. The Format for Health Certificate is available on the Official Website
Procedure for Registration of Yatris through designated Branches of Banks.

1. This year’s Shri Amarnathji Yatra will commence on 28th June, 2014, via both the routes Baltal and Pahalgam, and conclude on 10thAugust, 2014.
2. Advance Registration is compulsory for all intending Pilgrims.
3. Nobody shall be allowed to undertake the Yatra without securing aYatra Permit which is valid   for a specified day and route.
4. Every intending Pilgrim can secure his/ her Yatra Permit from any of the notified Bank Branches (87 of J&K Bank, 300 of Punjab National Bank and 38 of YES Bank) located in various States/UTs of the country.
5. The addresses of the notified Bank Branches which have been authorized to provide Registration are available at Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board website:
6. The Registration for the Yatra 2014, through all the nominated Bank Branches will commence from 1st March, 2014.
7. For Registration/ obtaining Yatra Permit, an intending Yatri shall have to submit filled in prescribed Application Form and Compulsory Health Certificate issued by the Authorized Doctor/ Medical Institution.
8. The State wise lists of Doctors/ Medical Institutions authorised to issue the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificate are available at Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board’s website,
9. The formats of the Application Form and Compulsory Health Certificate are also available at Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board’s website
10. For Yatra 2014, Compulsory Health Certificate issued only after 1st February, 2014, would be valid for the registration purposes.
11. An intending Yatri will be required to pay Rs.50/-as registration fee.
12. An intending Yatri who wishes to travel by Helicopter will not be required to separately register for the Yatra.
13. A Yatri who travels by Helicopter will be required to submit the prescribed Compulsory Health Certificate at the time of boarding the Helicopter.
14. All Yatris whould be allowed to embark on his/ her Yatra only on the day and from the route for which he/ she has been registered

TIP: List of Registration Centers, Yatra Registration form, Compulsory health certificate form and List of authorized Doctors (state wise) can also be downloaded from

Helicopter booking:
      On-line booking for heli-tickets for Shri Amarnathji Yatra 2014 begins  on 27th March 2014.

Neelgrat-Panjtarni-Neelgrat Sector

For booking heli-tickets on Neelgrat-Panjtarni-Neelgrat, please visit the web-sites of following heli-operators:

Global Vectra HeliCorp Limited
 Pawan Hans Limited at
One-way ticket fare on this sector is Rs 1950 per person.
Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam Sector 

For booking heli-tickets on Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam Sector, please visit the web-site of the heli-operator,

Himalayan Heli-Services Private Limited
One-way ticket fare on this sector is Rs 4190 per person.

Important Instructions:  After the registration process is over; all the persons willing to perform Yatra (specially the beginners) should read all the instructions printed in Hindi and English on backside of Yatra Permit. Generally these instructions are printed in small fonts and everybody ignores them. I replicate all of them here for the convenience of readers.
  • Prepare for the Yatra by achieving a high level of Physical Fitness. You are advised to start at at-least a month prior to the Yatra at least a 4-5km Morning/Evening walk. For improving the oxygen efficiency of your body, you should start doing deep breathing exercises and Yoga, particularly Pranayam.
  • Your journey shall involve trekking across high mountains, facing strong cold winds. You must carry (i) adequate woolen clothing; (ii) a small umbrella (preferably one which is tied with an elastic band around your head and supported by a strap around the chin); (iii) windcheater; (iv) raincoat; (v) waterproof trekking shoes; (vi) torch(vii) walking stick; (viii) cap (preferably a monkey cap); (ix) gloves; (x) jacket; (xi) woolen socks; (xii) trousers (preferably a waterproof pair). These items are essential as the climate is highly unpredictable and changes abruptly from sunny weather to rain and snow. The temperature can sometimes abruptly fall to 5 degrees Celsius or lower.
  • For Ladies: Saree is not a suitable dress for the Yatra. Salwar Kameez, pant-shirt or a track suit will be better. Ladies who are more than 6 week pregnant shall not be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage.
  • Keeping in view the tough nature of the trek, children below 13 year in age and elderly persons above the age of 75 years shall not be permitted to undertake the pilgrimage.
  • It would be better if the porter / horses / ponies carrying your luggage travel just in front or behind you, as you may suddenly need something from your baggage.
  • During the Yatra from Pahalgam/Baltal onwards, you should keep spare clothes/ eatables in a suitable water proof bag to ensure against their getting wet.
  • Carry a water bottle, dry fruits, roasted grams/channa, toffees/gur (jiggery), chocolates, etc for use during the journey.
  • Carry some cold cream/Vaseline/sunscreen to protect your hands /face against sunburn etc.
  • You should not trek alone. Always travel in a group and ensure that all those comprising the group, walking in front of you or in the rear, always remain in your sight, to ensure against your being separated from them.
  • To enable prompt action being taken in case of any emergency, you should keep in your pocket a note containing the name/addresses/mobile telephone number of a member of your group with whom you are travelling. You must also carry your Yatra Permit and any other identity card.
  • On your return journey, you must leave the Base Camp along with all members of your group. In case any member of your group is missing you must seek immediate assistance of the Police and also have an announcement made on the Public Address System at the Yatra Camp.
  • You should provide all possible help to your fellow Yatris, travelling with you, and perform the pilgrimage with a pious mind.
  • You must strictly follow the instructions issued by the Yatra administration, from time to time.
  • Earth, water, air, fire and sky are integral parts of Lord Shiva. The Base camp and the entire Yatra routes are the abode of Shri Amarnathji. Throughout your pilgrimage you must respect the environment and do nothing to pollute it.
  • All waste materials must be placed in the nearest dustbin. All organic wastes must be put in the dustbin which is green colored.
  • Lavatories/ urinals, installed in the camps and other places en-route the Holy Cave, should be used.
  1. Don’t stop at places which are marked by warning notices.
  2. Don’t use slippers because there are steep rises and falls on the route to the Holy Cave. Only wear trekking shoes with laces.
  3. Don’t attempt any short cuts on the route as doing so would be dangerous.
  4. Do not do anything during your entire forward/return journey which could cause pollution or disturb the environment of the Yatra area. Use of plastics is strictly banned in the State and is punishable under law.
Different Tracks to reach the Holy Cave

“Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath Shrine stands at 3,888 m, 46 Km from Pahalgam and 14 Kms from Baltal. Though the original pilgrimages subscribes that the Yatra (journey) be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin journey at Chandanwari, and cover the distance to Amarnathji. Pahalgam is 96 Kms from Srinagar. Amarnathji is considered to be one of the major Hindu Dhams. The holy cave is the abode of Lord Shiva. The guardian of the absolute, Lord Shiva, the destroyer, is enshrined in the form of an ice-lingam in this cave. This lingam is formed naturally, which is believed to wax and wane with the moon.”
It is clear from the above picture that there are two tracks to reach the holy Cave. They are

Jammu - Pahalgam - Chandanwari - Pissu Top - Sheshnag - Panchtarni - Holy Cave

Jammu - Baltal - Domail - Barari - Holy Cave
Base camp for both the tracks is at Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu and the Govt. controlled Yatra starts from Jammu only. In the next post we will discuss the different way to reach Jammu base camp or is it really required to reach Jammu? And much more. Till then Jai Bhole ki…

Click here for next Part


  1. Amarnath is sacred place situated at high altitude of kashmir , full of adventure . This is really beautiful .
    Mansrover yatra is also considerd as same as Amarnath yatra ..
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  2. Thanks For sharing nice information of amaranth yatra by helicopter View of destination splendor holy & peacefully I hope if you will visits to amaranth yatra.

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  12. Hi
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  13. Hi Naresh,

    It nice to see your blog. We as a group planning to go to Amarnath Yatra. Kindly help us by resolving my below query.

    a) we are reaching Srinagar airport and wanted to proceed to pahalgam. After the darshan we want to come down by Baltal route.
    My question is where do we keep the luggage. As we will be carrying a small backpack only required for 3or 4 days. Is there any facility any where in this route where we can deposit our luggage and proceed for trek and while coming back take them.

    your advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you

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