Amarnath Yatra, a pilgrimage of Lord Shiva
, is held in the month of Shravan
(July -August) and lasts for 40 days. During this event, pilgrims make a backbreaking walk up to the Amarnath cave
, located 145 km off Srinagar
in Jammu and Kashmir
at an altitude of 4,175 m above sea level.
The festival is held to celebrate the formation of the 'ice shivling' in the cave. The shivling starts to take its shape on the first day of the bright half of every lunar month and reaches its full size on the full moon day. After getting its full shape, it begins to decrease and disappear on the new moon day. Devotees believe that one can get salvation by witnessing this shivling.
Amarnath is crowded during this festival. The procession starts from Srinagar to Amarnath and is led by a priest carrying the Chhari Mubarak. It passes through rocky terrains and snowy mountains under random weather conditions.
From Pahalgam, it is a five-day trek to Amarnath. There is no direct air or rail link to Amarnath. Srinagar Airport is the nearest one.