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|The nearest airport is at Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. There are regular flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu. Widely known as the ‘Paradise on Earth’, Srinagar itself is a very popular tourist destination. ||The nearest rail head is at Jammu, the winter capital of India. It is well connected to all major cities of the country.||The trek to the cave begins either from Chandanwari or Baltal. Both these are well connected by road. Chandanwari is 16 km from Pahalgam, which in turn is 96 km from Srinagar and 315 km from Jammu. The distance between Baltal and Srinagar via Sonmarg is 115 km.|
Devotees can reach the holy cave either by trekking or on ponies or in helicopters.
1. Helicopter service : Helicopter services are available from Srinagar and also from Baltal. The flying time from Srinagar to Baltal is around 45 minutes and from Baltal to the Holy Cave is around 10 minutes. Flights start at 6.30 a.m. and continue through the day subject to weather conditions. The reporting time is 1 hr prior to the time of departure. The helicopters drop the pilgrims near the cave. They just have to climb a few stairs to the cave for the glimpse of the pious lingam.
Chandanwari -Pissu Top (3 km)-Seshnag (9 km)-Panchtarni (12 km)-Amarnath Cave (6 km)
This is a longer route but is considered more sacred as it is through this route that Chhari Mubarak, the holy mace of Lord Shiva, reaches the cave shrine. Night-stay facilities are only available at Pahalgam, Seshnag, Panchtarni and the holy cave (though most yatris on this route return to Panchtarni on the day of the darshan itself).
Baltal-Domail (2 km)-Burari Marg (5 km)-Sangam Ghati (4 km)-Amarnath Cave (3 km)
This route is shorter but then it is steeper and is more prone to landslides. Accommodation tents are available only at Baltal and the cave. So, the entire stretch has to be covered in a single day.
Going to the cave from the side of Chandanwari and returning back to Baltal is a good idea as one can easily climb down to Baltal in 4-5 hours (subject to weather conditions).
Pony and Dandies (palki) Service : Ponies or dandies can be hired from any of the night halt camp areas on the way. Many people prefer to trek for some distance and then hire a pony when they get tired. Ponies and dandies usually take the same route as of the trekkers for most part of the journey.
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