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Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage circuit reopens on June 30

Suspended for two years, Amarnath Yatra 2022 is open again, due to start on June 30

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After a two-year hiatus, the Hindu pilgrimage circuit of Amarnath Yatra 2022 will start again on June 30.

Officials at the Jammu-Kashmir Raj Bhavan said this year’s annual Amarnath Yatra to the holy cave shrine in the Himalayas will start on June 30 and conclude after 43 days, as per the tradition, on the day of the Raksha Bandhan festival.

Covid protocols will be followed throughout the Yatra.

The pilgrimage was not held during 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, while in 2019, it was disrupted due to events preceding the scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019 – record numbers had visited in the early days.

The Yatra

The pilgrimage is a trek through the Himalayas in the state of Kashmir, culminating in the Shri Amarnath Cave in Lidder Valley, 3,888m above sea level.

It is situated some 141 km from the capital city of Srinagar.

Amarnath Cave is in glacier-filled valleys and snowy mountains. Summer brings a short two-month window when the area is free of snow, at which time it is open to pilgrims.

trekking through glacier valleys in Kashmir
Glacier-filled valleys enroute to Amarnath Cave (Source: WikimediaCommons / Hardik Buddhabatti)

The journey begins with a 43-km mountainous trek from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam. Night halts are made at Sheshnag Lake and Panchtarni camps before the cave-shrine is reached.

tents stop enroute to Amarnath
Source: WikimediaCommons / Hardik Buddhabatti

Security forces patrol the trek throughout its 2-month opening.

Amarnath Cave

Legend has it that it was here that Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction, explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Parvati. The Amarnath cave is also believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, temples throughout South Asia that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.

amarnath cave temple in Kashmir
Amarnath Cave (Source: WikimediaCommons / Hardik Buddhabatti)

Inside the limestone and gypsum cave, pilgrims view a naturally occurring giant ‘ice Lingam’ believed to be a manifestation of Shiva.

The Lingam is a stalagmite, formed due to the freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave onto the floor, causing an upward vertical growth of ice until a solid dome results.

Siva’s wife Parvati and their son Ganesha are also present as two smaller stalagmites.

These ice formations are at the peak of their waxing phase when viewing begins, and start to wane just as the viewing ends.

ice lingam in amarnath cave
Lord Amarnath (Source: Wikimedia Commons / Hardik Buddhabatti)

 

Travel information

Registration is compulsory for pilgrims, and can be done online as well as offline. This year, offline registrations commence on 31 May, and online registrations, on 28 April.

Details can be accessed via Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) which manages the cave and the pilgrimage.

The Board was constituted by an Act of the Jammu & Kashmir State Legislature in 2000 with the Governor of the state as its ex-officio Chairman.

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