This is an annual event when thousands of Hindus from different
corners of the Globe visit Amarnath caves. The Amarnath Yatra
is the most important event during July / August,the Holy Pilgrimage
made in obeisance to Lord Shiva. The pilgrims trek from Pahalgam
to these caves and worship the great ice Lingam. Legend has
it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in
a cave in Amarnath. Unknown to them, a pair of mating doves
eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret,
are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal
abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of doves when they
trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam
(the phallic symbol of Shiva). This is an event you certainly
cannot forget ever.
The Legend goes "Ekam Sat " that
is "There is one Being, the sages call Him by many names."
The God (Parmeshwar) has three deities who carry on the world.
This is known as Holy Trinity. Brahma- the creator, Vishnu -
the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh) -the purifier and
perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refers to
Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse. "We Worship Tryambaka
(Rudra), Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment, May
He release me, From Mortal Life, but not From Immorality.
The Yajurveda describes Shiva as ascetic warrior whose robe
is of Deer Skin and He carries Trishul. According to the verse
Satyam, Shivam ,Sundaram ,the life is described as having three
facets Truth (Satyam), Good (Shivam) and the Beautiful (Sundaram).
Shiva is a living God. The most Sacred and ancient books of
India, the Rig Veda narrates His presence in the hymns. Vedic
myths, rituals and even astronomy testify to His existence from
the dawn of time .The Mohinjodaro and Harappa findings confirm
Shiva worship in the ancient India. According to the older scriptures,
He has three places of residence. One is Kailash Parvat another
is Lohit Giri under which the river Brahamputra flows and third
is Muzwan Parvat.
The Legend about the importance of Amarnath Cave is as follows:
This is the cave which was chosen by Lord Shiva for narrating
the secrets of immortality and creation of Universe to Maa Parvati
ji. The story goes like this. Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked
Shivji to let her know why and when He started wearing the beads
of heads (Mund Mala). Bhole Shankar replied whenever you are
born I add one more head in my beads. Maa Parvati said,"
My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and
again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of
this." Bhole Shankar replied that it is due to Amar Katha."
Maa Parvati insisted that she should be told that secret. For
long Shiva continued postponing. Finally on consistent demand
from Maa Parvati He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret.
He started for lonely place where no living being could listen
it. He chose Amarnath Cave. In preparation to that He left His Nandi (The Bull which He used to ride) at Pahalgam
(Bail gaon). At Chandanwari He released Moon from his hairs
(Jataon). At the banks of Lake Sheshnag He released the snakes.
He decided to leave his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh
Hill). At Panjtarni, Shivji left the Five Elements behind (Earth,
Water, Air, Fire and Sky) which make living being. He is the
Lord of these elements. It is believed that as a symbol of sacrificing
the earthly world, Shivaji and Maa Parvati had Tandav Dance.
After leaving behind all these, Bhole Shankar enters the Holy
Amarnath Cave along with Parvati Maa.
Lord Shiva took his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and meditated.
To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal
Tale, He created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread
fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy
Cave. After this He started narrating the secret of
immortality to Maa Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg
which was lying beneath the Deerskin remained protected. It
is believed to be non living and more over it was protected
by Shiva-Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons, which were
born out of this egg, became immortal having listened the secret
Discovery of Holy Cave - The story narrated
by people about the discovery of this Holy Cave is of a Gujjar
(shepherd) Buta Malik. He is given the credit of discovering
this Holy Cave. Story goes like this, that a saint gave Buta
Malik a bag full of Coal. On reaching his home when he opened
the bag, to his utter surprise the bag was full of gold coins.
This made him overwhelmed with joy. He ran to thank the Saint.
But, what he found was that the Saint had disappeared. Instead,
he found The Holy Cave and Shiva Lingam there in . He announced
the discovery of this to the Villagers. Then onwards this has
become the sacred place of Pilgrimage. The ancient epics narrate
another story, which goes like this. The valley of Kashmir was
under water. It was a big lake. Kashyap Rishi drained the water
through number of rivers and rivulets. In those days Bhrigu
Rishi came that way on a visit to the Himalaya. He was the first
to have Darshans of this Holy Cave. When people heard of the
Lingam, Amarnath for them became Shiva's abode and a Centre
Since then Lakhs of devotees perform the pilgrimage through
tough terrain and avail eternal happiness. The trek to Amarnath,
in the month of sharavan (July-August) has the devout flock
to this incredible shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the
form of a Lingam, is formed naturally of an Ice Stalagmite,
which waxes and wanes with the Moon's cycle. By its side are
fascinating, two more Ice Lingams, that of Maa Parvati and of
their son, Ganesha.
Amarnath is 145 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir. There is an
ice Shiva-lingam here that changes size with the seasons, and
also as the moon waxes and wanes it becomes bigger and smaller.
On the full moon day the lingam is about 6 ft high. Each year
on the full moon day of July-August (Sravana) when the Shiva-lingam
attains its maximum height there is a festival at this cave
temple. It is said that Lord Shiva first appeared on this day.
To Top Location and Access
Location : 145-km From Srinagar, Kashmir
Region Altitude : 4,175m (13,700ft).
Darshan Season : July To August
It is located in a glacial valley at 4,175m (13,700 ft.). The
cave is about 150 feet high and 90 feet long. Within the cave
there are four or five ice formations that resemble the figures
of different gods. The biggest figure is regarded as Shiva (Amarnath).
On the left side of the linga is an ice formation called Ganesh,
and on the right side is one of Parvati and Bhairava.The area
is covered with snow from September to June. The cave opens
only in July and August. This is the rainy season, so pilgrims
have to brave the rain to get there. About 25,000 people make
this pilgrimage each year. You can also hire ponies and dandies
for the trip. It is very crowded during the annual Sravana festival.
How to Get There
Air : Indian Airlines has daily flights to
Delhi and Srinagar (depends on weather). There are also flights
to Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and Leh.
Train : The Shalimar Express departs from
Delhi at 4.10 pm and arrives in Jammu at 7 am. There are other
trains to and from Delhi. From Jammu there are direct trains
to Mumbai, Kolkata.
Road: Most buses from Jammu leave between
6 and 7 am, in order to arrive before night. A ticket to Srinagar
should be booked in advance. There are buses to Delhi (14 hr),
Amritsar (5 hr), and Pathankot (3 hr). From Pathankot you can
get a bus to Dharamshala and Dalhousie. Deluxe buses depart
from the railway station, usually between 6 and 7 am.
When to take up the Yatra
The Amarnath Yatra is organised every year by the J&K
Govt. during the month of Shravan (July and August); the dates
however, vary every year looking at the weather conditions and
according to Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) in the month of Sharavan
Yatra to Baba Amarnath Holy Cave for which one has to trek
a height of about 14,500 ft is full of thrill and joy .The feeling
of divine which is always beneath ones' heart, burst out and
one realises 'Moksha' as one attends the Cave and perform the
prayer before the Shivlinga. Surrounded by beautiful valleys,
mountains, one will always feel His presence on the paradise
of the earth, the memory of which hardly vanishes with time
a journey that will rediscover the nature and its love, which
is always inside, but one has never felt.
Climate: The climatic conditions are very
uncertain. Rain or snowfall may take place at any time or place
during the Yatra . It is to be particularly noted that abrupt
changes in temperature might occur. Sunny weather may turn into
rain / snowfall in a short time. The temperature may fall up
to -5 degree C.