pilgrimages are the oldest organised travel system, evolved
over time by Hindu sages and embodying the spirit of wander,
adventure and spirituality"
Shiva, in the form of a lingam, is formed naturally of an
ice - stalagmite One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living
god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda
evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and
even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of
This 15-km trek takes about five hours and it's an easy walk
since there is little altitude change between Sonamarag and
Baltal. One should be able to get a lift on a truck to the
roadblock, from there on it is better to walk. The roadblock
is closed until noon or later, waiting for traffic to come
across the Zoji la from Ladakh. From the roadblock one can
walk along the river valley track, which is very pleasant.
The river valley track is also 2 to 3-km shorter than the
vehicle road. A military camp is the first sign of Baltal,
which can be reached in a day from Srinagar.
The 15-km trek to Amarnath climbs over a thousand metres
from Baltal at 2,743 metres to the cave at 4,175 metres and
the walk takes about nine to 10 hours. The route crosses one
major snow bridge over a river and climbs steadily up,
crossing the Satsing pass, 3 ½-km before Amarnath, at 4,115
metres dropping down and then climbing up again to the cave
at 4,175 metres. There are some tea stalls along the way,
even at the river, and after the junction with the main
trail there are even more.
Amarnath to Baltal & Sonamarg from the Amarnath cave
return along the pilgrim trail as far as the junction of the
Panchtarni and Amarvati rivers. Here the trails divert, with
the track to Baltal heading down the true right of the
valley. The trail is prone to rock avalanches where it
traverses large scree slopes and one should be wary of
descending without first checking its condition. If there
are no problems, the trek to Baltal can be completed in
about four hours.
Road: From Baltal there is a regular bus service during
the pilgrimage period, getting back to Srinagar that night.
At other times, camp at Baltal and continue to Sonamarg at a
more leisurely pace the following morning. From Sonamarg
there are three buses a day to Srinagar and the drive takes
around five hours