Amaranth Yatra: The spectacular views on the drive to Baltal and Zojilla Pass

A view along the Srinagar - Amarnath yatra route in India's Jammu & Kashmir state

The Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) is an important event for Hindus. The annual event, usually held in July, draws in thousands of people every year from all over India. 

There are two approaches to yatra venue - the Amarnath cave. One is from the town of Pahalgam in the south, while the other is from north from Srinagar via Baltal. The yatra approach from Baltal  is a few km off the Srinagar - Leh National Highway No: 1D. The route passes through some spectacular landscapes of Kashmir Valley. After the picturesque Sonamarg hill resort, we drove straight on the National Highway. Splitting from the yatra route at Baltal, we ascended the Zojilla pass and drove to Drass town and ahead to Kargil town. The sprawling yatra premises is visible very well as one climbs the mountains towards the Zojilla Pass.

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Meadows in a valley beyond Sonamarg hill resort.

The peaks get taller as one moves away from Sonamarg.

One of the many glaciers that we came across on the drive.

There are no human habitations beyond Sonamarg, as the road to this hill resort is cut off from the state's capital Srinagar, every winter, due to snow.

Welcoming mountains and open skies: The view as one deviates from the yatra route at Baltal and drives up to Zojilla Pass towards Kargil.

In the heart of the valley is the setup for the yatra piligrims.

View of the congregation of Amarnath yatra route in India's Jammu & Kashmir state
A closer look at the huge congegration.

The tents fade from view as one ascends the Himalaya mountains.

Green cover one side and denuded part on another side of the same mountain

A bird's eye view of the piligrim tents and the route that leads to the Amarnath cave.

One last view of the yatra gathering before we disappear into the mountain passes.

The narrow mountain path leading to Zojilla pass.

The road is barely wide for two vehicles at most places.

This journey was a part of the road trip that I got to make from Srinagar to the Drang Drung Glacier via Kargil Town through my previous work, in July 2009. Click here to view and read the next part of this journey.
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