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Amarnath is one of India's most popular places of pilgrimage. Amarnath is a large cave in which an ice stalagmite in the shape of a lingam grows in summer. According to legend, Shiva told his wife Parvati the secret of immortality in this cave.
The pilgrimage to Amarnath is one of India's most famous religious events. The ice lingam grows from May to August. The peak of pilgrimage falls in July-August during the lunar month of Shravan. During the season, Amarnath is visited by approx. Half a million people, although the path to the cave is not easy.
The most popular way is on foot or mules from the cityPahalgam or Chandanwari. The entire pilgrimage takes 3-5 days. Chandanwari can be reached by bus from Pahalgama. Hiring a mule with a driver costs approx. Two porters can also be carried on a palanquin. It is better to rent mules and palanquins in Chandanwari. Here you will know all about Amarnath tourism.
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It is one of the most famous religious destinations in Hinduism and is located in the Indian state of Kashmir. The shrine is over 5,000 years old and an essential part of ancient Hindu mythology. Snow-capped mountains surround the cave. The cave itself is covered in snow for most of the year, except for a short period in the summer when it is open to pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus and other devotee’s pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave every year through the challenging mountainous terrain.
Inside the main cave of Amarnath, does an icy stalagmite resemble a Shiva linga that builds up between May and August and gradually shrinks after that? It is said that lingam grows and shrinks with the moon's phases, reaching its height during the summer festival. This famous pilgrimage site for Hindus is about 400,000 people visit during the 45 seasons during the Shravani Mela holiday in July-August coinciding with the Hindu holy month of Shravan.
Usually, devotees make the 42 km pilgrimage on foot from Pahalgam, about 96 km (60 mi) from Srinagar, and cover the trip in four to five days. There are two alternative routes to the Temple: the longer and more traditional route from Srinagar and the shorter route from Baltal town. Some devotees, especially the elderly, also ride horses to make the journey. During the last fifty years, the Shivlingam ice has shrunk in size. Although the weather affects its shape and size, many environmentalists blame global warming for this.
Pilgrims travel through rough roads to reach this place, one of the holiest of Hinduism, climbing up to just under 4000 meters in the snow-capped mountains of Indian Kashmir. They go up to the cave of Amarnath to pay homage to an ice stalagmite formed over time by the dripping water that falls inside the 40-meter-high cave. This formation, revered as Shiva's lingam, is the phallic holy symbol of this deity. The lingam represents both the masculine force and the feminine one.
Shiva is the destroyer of evil, the purifier, and the transformer and is part of the holy Trimurti together with Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the continuer of life; Shiva is also seen in benevolent aspects when he is an ascetic on Mount Kailash in Tibet where he lives with his wife Parvati and his sons Ganesha and Kartikeya or in ferocious aspects when he kills demons. The main features in Shiva's iconography are the bull Nandi, which is his mount, the snake around his neck, the third eye, the crescent moon, and the sacred river Ganges flowing down from his hair. The trident and a small double-sided drum.
Amarnath Yatra is an annual pilgrimage where thousands of devotees from all over the world visit the cave. It is available only in July-August, during the rainy season, from the full moon of the month of Ashad to the full moon of the month of Shravana. The cave is covered with beautiful white snow, remaining all the time. Many pilgrims, reaching the cave, fall into a state of great joy and sing religious hymns, both in the sanctuary in front of the icy phallus of Shiva and around the cave. About 25,000 pilgrims visit Amarnath every year. The grand march of the Indians in the Himalayas begins at the end of June. Two streams of pilgrims every July and part of August move in an endless stream - through the beautiful Pahalgam valley and through Batal to the sacred cave, where the icy Shivalingam is located - the main object of worship.
Built-in honor of the Sun God or Bhaskar, the sprawling complex of the Martand Temple (another name for the Sun God) is one of the most beautiful works of King Lalitaditya, a royal member of the Surya dynasty. Created in the 8th century BC, Martand boasts a unique and exquisite architectural style with solid Greek influences, although now in ruins. This is visible in the use of stone pillars, columns, cloverleaf doors, rectangles, triangles, and pediments, the latter being a common element of the Baroque style. The Temple is enclosed in a courtyard of columns and arches that form a covered walkway around it.
All this is fused with the architectural style of the Kashmiri Hindu people to create a stunning structure. Locals say that the Temple used to attract visitors from all over the world during its golden age.
The former pleasure retreat of the Mughal Empress Nur Jahan and the Achabal Springs, which erupt from Sonsanwar Hill, is a virtual feast for the eyes. Splendid Mughal gardens surround the pristine springs in a unique Persian style. Towering Chinar trees line the garden at the foot of a hill, about 58 km from Srinagar. Other attractions of Achabal are its stepped terraces, its classic elegance, and its ornamental shrubs.
Bordered by a densely forested gorge and snow-capped mountains, Daksum boasts a stunning landscape with tree-covered hills and vast meadows. Rising to around 2,438 meters, Daksum is surrounded by the beautiful Kokernag springs and gives one the feeling of being in a relaxing retreat. The melodic rush of the Brengi River blends seamlessly with the peaceful surroundings, and the best way to explore the area is by nature walking.
Daksum is also a hiker's retreat with several trails. The path from Sinthan Top to Sinthan Pass is terrific. Travelers can also camp in this lush and picturesque landscape and spend a fantastic night under a blanket of stars. Another Daksum attraction is angling in the Brengi River, as it is teeming with trout. However, this activity is only allowed if permits are obtained from the Forestry Department. Daksum has situated about 40 km from Anantnag and about 85 km from Srinagar.
It is associated with the annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Amarnath Yatra. Pahalgam is a city and district committee notified in the Anantnag district of the Indian Union Territory in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a very famous tourist destination. Its lush green meadows and clear waters attract thousands of tourists every year.
Chandanwari is located 16 kilometers from Pahalgam. The city is the starting point of the yatra, which takes place every year between July and August and welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists. Due to its religious significance and role as a base camp, the city attracts 70% of the valley's visitors. This influx of tourists overwhelms some local infrastructure, especially waste management in the city.
Located at an altitude along high mountain pastures, Baltal serves as a base camp for pilgrims heading to the Amarnath Caves, located 14 km away. There are pitched tents intended for pilgrims to spend the night. Baltal is an hour away from Sonmarg by taxi or bus. Travelers will need about 5 hours to reach Baltala from Pahalgam.
The Baltal meadows, famous for their beauty, offer pilgrims and tourists accommodation in tents at reasonable prices. Both pony rides and, for those who can afford it, helicopter services are available to the sacred caves of Amarnath. Helicopter passengers need to disembark at Panjtarni and walk or pony ride to the cave located 5 km away. There are basic teahouses on the route.
Sonmarg, which means "golden meadow," has a backdrop of snowy mountains against an azure sky. Sind meanders here and abounds with trout and mahseer. Snow trout can be caught in the main river. At the end of April, when Sonmarg is open to road traffic, visitors can access the snow, which is completely covered in white carpet. Ponies can be hired to trip to the Tajivas Glacier, a major attraction during the summer months.
The climate of Sonmarg is very refreshing, but the rains are frequent, though not abundant, except for two or three consecutive days in July and August, with a delicate period in between. From Sonmarg, hiking trails lead to the Himalayan lakes of Vishansar Lake, Krishansar Lake, Gangabal Lake, and Gadsar Lake, home to Snow Trout and Kumzha altar fed by glaciers and surrounded by shores of alpine flowers.
Nearby excursion to Baltal, 15 km east of Sonmarg. This small valley lies at the foot of Zojila, just a day's journey from the sacred cave of Amarnath, and is the base camp of the Amarnath Yatra. Hikers can also reach the magnificent rooftop of the Leh world by crossing the Zoji La pass.
In Sonmarg, the Department of Tourism of Jammu and Kashmir organizes annual rafting tournaments, which overseas teams have recently attended. A large number of Hindi films have been filmed in Sonmarg.
Known throughout the world as Mini Switzerland, Baisaran is a picturesque clearing located just 5 km from Pahalgam due to its grasslands similar to Switzerland's. The fantastic forest that gives the green carpet the appearance of a clearing casts a different shade from the snow-capped peaks of the surrounding mountains.
Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, Aru Valley is a charming town in Kashmir and an excellent base camp for visiting the myriad of lakes, meadows, and peaks such as the Kolhoi Glacier and Lake Tarsar. The town of Aru is beside the River Aru, a tributary of the River Lidder. The Valle dell'Aru is charming with its scenic meadows and numerous activities such as horse riding, hiking, and trekking.
Meadows, snow-capped peaks, and winding streams form the extraordinary topography of this splendid valley. As well as being a place of remarkable topography, the valley is a popular hiking and camping base for travelers seeking to explore the adjacent regions of the plateau. Betaab Valley also attracts many newly married couples on their honeymoon in Kashmir.
A point of extraordinary beauty, the Kolahoi Glacier is one of the must-see places in Pahalgam. The trek is deep in the thick vegetation of the mountain. The green glaciers and streams make the glacier trek even more memorable.
The River Lidder is a glacial river that originates from the Kolahoi Glacier. Crossing the Pahalgam valleys, this mighty river is a sight to behold and a popular tourist spot. The crystal clear water is home to many different varieties of fish and is also used for irrigation purposes. It is one of the most important tributaries of the Indus. This river is the primary water source for the nearby region, which is only accessible by hiking. Other adventure sports that you can practice are rafting, sport fishing, horse riding, and fishing
Sheshnag Lake is a popular tourist destination and pilgrimage site near Pahalgam in Kashmir. The lake is named after Sheshnag Ndasha, the divine serpent in Hindu mythology. They say that the serpent dug this lake and made it his abode, where he still lives. Since ancient times, the lake has been considered sacred as it is on the pilgrimage route to the holy Amarnath caves. Melted snow and mountain streams feed Sheshnag Lake, which remains frozen and inaccessible in winter. The picturesque surroundings of this lake consist of green pastures and snow-capped mountains.
This amazing place is the starting point for the Amarnath Yatra. A significant pilgrimage was celebrated in the Hindu month of Sawan. With breathtaking beauty, this place is the main attraction for travelers coming to the Kashmir Valley. Rolling landscapes and sporadic vegetation dominate the topography of this picturesque little town.
Located in the middle of the Zanskar and Pir Panjal mountain ranges, Lake Tullian offers a breathtaking view of snow-capped peaks jutting into the sky. Covered in snow, visiting Tullian Lake is a perfect way to admire the natural beauty of the Kashmir Valley.
India is an incredible land of cultural diversity for tourists, where millions of people from different backgrounds and religions remain in harmony. Enjoy the lively, joyous, and vibrant destinations of India. Above, we have learned all about Amarnath tourism in India, which you should visit once in your life.
The above list is not listed in order of importance since it would be impossible to classify the incredible diversity and beauty that each place in the vast territory of India possesses.
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