The Holy Amarnath Amarnath
is 145 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir.
There is an ice Silva-linga
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 linga is about
6 ft high. Each year on the full moon day of July-August (Sravana) when the
Siva-linga attains its maximum height there is a festival at this cave
temple. It is said that Lord Siva first appeared on this day.
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 figures of different gods. The biggest figure is regarded as Siva
(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. There is a yearly pilgrimage starting from
Srinagar that is led by the Chhari Saheb, the holy seepter. Amarnath
The of the most important event during July / August, is
Amarnath Yatra to the Holy Pilgrimage. This is an annual event when
thousands of Hindus from different corners of the Globe visit Amarnath
caves. 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. Unknow 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 doves-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay
obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva). This is an
event you certainly will talk about for the rest of your life.
There is famous Rigvedic Verse that says "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 refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse . "We Worship
Tryambaka (Rudra) , Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment , May He
release me ,like the cucumber from its stem , From Mortal Life , But not
From Immorality . "(Rig Veda Mandal VII Sukta 59 and Mantra 12). 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
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 testifies to His existence from the
dawn of time .The Mohindaro and Harapa findings confirm Shiva worship in the
ancient India. According to the older scriptures, He has three places of His
residence. One is Kailash Parvat another is Lohit Giri under which
Brahamputra flows and third is Muzwan Parvat . Significance
of Amarnath Cave
The Legend about the importance of Amarnath Cave is as
follows : (A.)
This is The Cave which
was chosen by Bhole Shankar for narrating the secrets of immortality and
creation of Universe to Maa Parvati ji . The story goes like this .
Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked Shiv ji to let her know why and when He
started wearing the beads of heads ( Mund Mala) . Bhole Shankar replied when
ever 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 ." (B.)
Maa Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long
Shiva ji 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 choose 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. (C.)
Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate . 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 Deer skin 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 of immortality (Amar Katha). Many pilgrims report seeing
the pair of pigeons when they trek the arduous route to pay their obeisance
before the Ice-Lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).
Discovery of Holy
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 Shiv
Lingam there in . He announced the discovery of this to the Villagers. Then
onwards this has become the sacred place of Pilgrimage .
ancient epics narrate an other 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 Himalayas. 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 of pilgrimage . Since then Lacs 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 .
To take up 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 (Vikrama Samwat).
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 which
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 / snow fall in a short time . The temperature may
fall up to -5 degree C.
How to get there
Indian Airlines had daily
flights to Delhi and Srinagar. There are also flights to Bombay, Calcutta,
Chandigarh, and Leh. The Indian Airlines office(542-735) is at the Tourist
Reception Centre on Vir Marg. » Rail
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 Bombay, Calcutta (Jammu Tawi Exp # 3152, daily, 6.15 pm, 46 ½ hr).
Most buses 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 (5hr), 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.
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