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Amarnath Yatra Begins: Here's why trekking to the Himalayan cave shrine is one of the toughest pilgrimages in India

Thousands of devotees began an annual pilgrimage on June 30 through mountain passes and meadows to an icy Himalayan cave in Jammu and Kashmir. Some chanted religious hymns on their way to pray at the hallowed mountain cave's Amarnath shrine, where Hindus worship Lingam, a naturally formed ice stalagmite inside the cave, as an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration. The cave, at 13,500 feet (4,115 meters) above sea level, is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period in summer when it is open for the pilgrims.

June 30, 2022 / 07:23 PM IST
Thousands of devotees began an annual pilgrimage on June 30 through mountain passes and meadows to an icy Himalayan cave in Jammu and Kashmir. Some chanted religious hymns on their way to pray at the hallowed mountain cave's Amarnath shrine, where Hindus worship Lingam, a naturally formed ice stalagmite inside the cave, as an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration. The cave, at 13,500 feet (4,115 meters) above sea level, is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period in summer when it is open for the pilgrims. Here’s a look at what makes the Amarnath trek one of the toughest pilgrimages in India.
Thousands of devotees began an annual pilgrimage on June 30 through mountain passes and meadows to an icy Himalayan cave in Jammu and Kashmir. Some chanted religious hymns on their way to pray at the hallowed mountain cave's Amarnath shrine, where Hindus worship Lingam, a naturally formed ice stalagmite inside the cave, as an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration. The cave, at 13,500 feet (4,115 meters) above sea level, is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period in summer when it is open for the pilgrims. Here’s a look at what makes the Amarnath trek one of the toughest pilgrimages in India.
The Amarnath Cave is situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
The Amarnath Cave is situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
Above 5,000 ft., one may face breathlessness due to fall in oxygen levels.
Above 5,000 ft., one may face breathlessness due to fall in oxygen levels.
One may face mountain sickness, like headache, fatigue, stomach illness and more above 6,600 ft.
One may face mountain sickness, like headache, fatigue, stomach illness and more above 6,600 ft.
Above 8,000 ft., acute mountain sickness can affect the pilgrim which may affect brain and lungs.
Above 8,000 ft., acute mountain sickness can affect the pilgrim which may affect brain and lungs.
While trekking above 10,000 ft., pilgrims can have hypoxemia which may cause decision impairment, hallucinations in extreme cases.
While trekking above 10,000 ft., pilgrims can have hypoxemia which may cause decision impairment, hallucinations in extreme cases.
Above 11,500 – 18,000 ft., one may face extreme hypoxemia, which can be fatal if ignored.
Above 11,500 – 18,000 ft., one may face extreme hypoxemia, which can be fatal if ignored.
As we go up atmospheric oxygen drops and humidity decreases which leads to increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and drop in blood oxygen level.
As we go up atmospheric oxygen drops and humidity decreases which leads to increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and drop in blood oxygen level.
The Amarnath trek exposes the pilgrims to extreme cold, low humidity, increased ultraviolet radiation and reduced air pressure.
The Amarnath trek exposes the pilgrims to extreme cold, low humidity, increased ultraviolet radiation and reduced air pressure.
Baltal route and Pahalgam route are the two routes to the Amarnath cave. (With inputs from AP)
Baltal route and Pahalgam route are the two routes to the Amarnath cave. (With inputs from AP)
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first published: Jun 30, 2022 07:22 pm
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