Amarnath Cave - The Land of Shiva Lingam

Pilgrimages are a crucial part of the spiritual belief system in the entire world. #Amarnath Yatra is one of the most highly accorded and pious pilgrimages any devotee can take in their lifetime. The holy shrine of Amarnath cave is situated on an elevation of over 3,500 metres above sea level in the scenic hills of Jammu and Kashmir.

Surrounded by the snow capped Himalayan peaks on all sides, the journey to the holy cave of Amarnath is very difficult, challenging but immensely rewarding. Other than being an auspicious place of Shiva worship it is also an important Shaktipeeth making it the holiest pilgrimage places to visit in India.

Enveloped in a deep sense of mystical charm, the gates of Amarnath Yatra open up annually for just a couple of weeks before shutting down for the season. This highly exclusive pilgrimage has always been on demand and every year it receives devotees and pilgrims from all over the world.

Even though it is situated on a very challenging terrain that requires a lot of stamina, strength and endurance to cover, the devotees bear it all to offer their prayer to the Ice Shivling which gets formed inside the cave and is a sight to behold.

Amarnath temple yatra

Mythological Importance of Amarnath Cave

The iconic history of Amarnath goes back to the time when the gods used to walk the earth. It all started with goddess Parvati asking Shiva about the beads or the Rudraksh that he has donned on his dreaded hair. To her query Shiva replied that every time she is born a bead is added on its own. To this the goddess asked why she has to die every time and be reborn whereas the lord is immortal.

Shiva then goes on to recite the Amar Katha to Parvati which is the story of immortality. However, before starting, Shiva went to find a very isolated cave away from the ears of everyone so that no one is able to listen to it. On his way he gave up all his ornaments, companions and other elements that were on him.

On reaching the cave site, Kalangi first set fire to the perimeter of the cave in order to ensure that not even a single soul is alive during its recitation. Shiva told this story to Parvati but did not notice the two pigeon eggs that were hiding underneath his deer skin and happened to listen to the entire thing. Even to this day devotees can spot the immortal pigeons inside the cave.

Discovery of Amarnath Cave

According to legends and various written sources, the cave was later discovered by sage Bhrigu. A very long time ago it is said that the entire valley of Kashmir was submerged underwater. The water was later on drained out through the help of rivers and rivulets by Kashyap muni. As the water continued to completely drain out the shrine uncovered itself and sage Bhrigu became the first ever person to have the Darshan of Amarnath shrine.

As per some folk tales, a poor Muslim shepherd happened upon the cave by chance while taking his flock of cattles for grazing. Apparently the shepherd was also given a sack of coal by a sage which had later on turned into pure solid gold. This was indication enough that the cave had massive spiritual powers and divine importance.

The Yatra

The peak of the pilgrimage is reached when the iced stalagmite formation of the shiv lingam within the cave is in the waxing phase that goes on throughout the summer season. The Yatra commences through late July to early august and is attended by lakhs of devotees through it all. This 130 feet high glacial cave of Amarnath that remains open just for 45 days continues to be the most important place of Shiva worship anywhere in the world.

The journey to the cave starts on foot from Pahalgam, which takes 5 days or Srinagar. The walking route goes on from 2 different routes, one starts from Pahalgam while the other one from Pahalgam. The Baltal route is shorter but a more difficult Endeavour as compared to the Pahalgam route. It doesn’t matter which route you take, you will end up having the spiritual time of your life.

Kalyan Panja