Amarnath yatra by helicopter Pahalgam

The holy Amarnath Yatra is a superb amalgamation of the ethos, culture, religious fervour, secularism that still elevates the beauty and charm of India. Hinduism is the world’s oldest organized religion which holds deep roots in the country. The gods, goddesses and deities are not only the embodiments of a supernatural power here, but are the great path-illuminators. They help the human civilization to follow the route to salvation.

Lord Shiva, one of the Gods of the Hindu trinity is considered to be static as well as dynamic; creator as well as destroyer at the same time. Among various other abodes of Lord Shiva, the Amarnath cave in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is one such holy destination that attracts thousands (sometime lakhs) of pilgrims every year. Despite of the arduous trek and harsh geographical conditions, the Amarnath Yatra receives maximum registration of the devotees who seek the ‘darshan’ of their almighty.

The main purpose to go on the holy Amarnath Yatra is to get the blessings of Lord Shiva and to delve into the eternal knowledge of life and death. There are various mythical stories interwoven in and around this holy cave. Out of many, a story depicts that Lord Shiva once disclosed the eternal truth of life and death to Goddess Parvati in this sacred cave only. Located 13,000 feet above the sea level, this cave is believed to be as old as time. Resembling the Shiva Lingam is an ice stalagmite in the cave which becomes almost 14 feet tall when fully grown. This naturally manicured ice lingam never fails to move, amaze and convince the pilgrims to the unquestionable divinity of Lord Shiva.

Registration Process for the Amarnath Yatra 2018

The registration process of the yatris (pilgrims) is arranged by Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board (SASB) through the medium of different authorized branches and banks throughout India. These banks and branches are fully responsible to issue the Yatra Permit of Amarnath Ji (YP) based on the details provided by the applicant on the application form. The following are some vital steps involved in the registration for Amarnath Yatra in the year 2018.

  • 440 branches of the Punjab National Bank, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and the YES Bank across the country has commenced the registration for Amarnath Yatra on March 1st, 2018. The registration is being done on the first come-first serve basis.
  • One Yatra Permit (YP) is valid for one pilgrim only.
  • Each branch has been allotted a fixed quota of permits to issue for each day and for each route. The bank ensures that the number of permits issued does not exceed the number allotted per day and per route, every day.
  • Every Yatri has to compulsorily submit the application form along with required health certificate to obtain the permit. The format for the application form and compulsory health certificate is available online as well as is available free of cost from the designated bank branches.

Before applying for the permit, each yatri must have following documents ready

  • Four Passport sized photographs.
  • Completely filled in application form.
  • Identity proof of the pilgrim.

The registering officer at the bank can register for the permit even after normal working hours, i.e. between 3 PM to 6PM.

Routes for the Amarnath Yatra

There are two routes through which the pilgrims can reach the holy cave.

Baltal Route

A shortcut to the Amarnath Cave is via the Baltal route. Though a difficult one, but the route spans over just 14 kilometres of road.  There are no stopovers in between and the trekking goes on continuously. The round trip takes 1-2 days and the route is only suitable for the young generations who are adventure enthusiasts. Old age people should not plan Amarnath Yatra via Baltal route.

Pahalgam Route

The traditional southern route to Amarnath Cave is via Pahalgam. It is believed that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati took this route. A 45-kilometre long way covers en-route Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Ganesh top, Panchtarni and Sangam. It takes 4 days for the roundtrip. Amarnath Yatra via Pahalgam is suited for everybody especially because of the stopovers at various destinations along with proper facilities.

For people who are unable to cross such a long distance on foot, the Amarnath Yatra by helicopter is also available. An Amarnath Yatra by helicopter is a great deal for people who are struggling with their hectic schedule. You can easily manage your little time to go for this otherwise long trip. While reaching the sacred shrine by helicopter, the pilgrims can savour a green ride to the valley of gods and goddesses. The bird’s eye view of the valley with floating river amid the green woodland is a great feast for the visual senses of the pilgrims.

Dos and don’ts during Amarnath Yatra


  • Wear and carry sufficient woollen clothes with you. Other important things that you must carry with you are windcheater jacket, raincoat, small umbrella, a woollen cap, a torch, stick, waterproof shoes, woollen socks, trousers, sleeping bag etc.
  • Make sure you are physically fit to undertake the holy sojourn. Go for morning walk of about 4-5 kilometres prior a month of commencing the journey. Try to massage your body with mustard oil.
  • Carry a slip, bearing your name, address, phone number of near and dear ones and name of the accompanying members. Keep this slip in your pocket at all the times.
  • Wear shoes with firm grip and thick sole.
  • Keep all the necessary medicines with you.
  • Keep on chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, the miraculous mantra of Lord Shiva.
  • Maintain cleanliness and adhere to the instructions issued by the Yatra officer.
  • Don’t hurt ponies or horses.


  • Avoid eating oily food.
  • Don’t take drugs or other intoxicants.
  • Don’t stop at the places with warning signs.
  • Stay at bay from the dangerous shortcuts.

Food & Accommodation

Proper accommodation in tents is arranged by J&K TDC and also by the private groups. All the necessary facilities are provided to the pilgrims to ensure a comfortable stay and travel. However, the pilgrims can carry their own stuff to be used during an emergency. Before and after the Yatra, the pilgrims can choose hotel as per their needs and comforts at Pahalgam or Srinagar.

Starting and Ending Dates of Amarnath Yatra 2018

The Amarnath Yatra 2018 is all set to start from 28th June 2018 on the eve of Jyestha Purnima. Going with the traditions, the Yatra will culminate on 26th August 2018 on the auspicious day of Shravan Purnima i.e., Raksha Bandhan. This year the Yatra will continue for 60 days.

Criteria for Pilgrims about to undertake the Amarnath Yatra

  • Children below the age of 13 years and persons above 75 years are not permitted for the Amaranth Yatra. A lady with more than six weeks of pregnancy and people with severe ailments are not allowed to embark upon the sacred journey.
  • It is mandatory for every pilgrim to carry a Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC) to prove his fitness for the nerve wrecking journey. This certificate has to be submitted along with the application form to register successfully.
  • Only an Authorized Doctor / Institution have been entrusted with the responsibility to issue Compulsory Health Certificates (CHC). This list of such institutions and doctors is available online and is updated from time to time.

The great Amarnath Yatra is not just a holy voyage to the shrine of Lord Shiva, but is a merriment festival that showcases the unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. A large number of Muslim people help the pilgrims by various means to reach the sacred destination. Each yatri or pilgrim has their own story to narrate and after the end of this sacred journey. For many, it is an annual affair that give them strength of mind to work and fight with adversities throughout the year. There are thousands of foreign travellers also who set off to the Amarnath Yatra while on their tour to India.

So, if you are also planning a trip to India soon, do try to undertake the Amarnath Yatra. Hurry up! Registration for Amarnath Yatra 2018 has already begun from March 1st, 2018 and is still on.

About Author:

A writer by day and a tsundoku at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha is a travel freak and anxious to explore different cultures and religions. Inclined towards the off-beat places, she wishes to uncover the secrets on her Scooty (if possible). She always grabs some time to take a quick nap, listen to music, skating and eat a brownie.

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