Amarnath cave is among the outstanding spiritual locations devoted to Lord Shiva situated in Jammu and Kashmir. The cave of Amarnath yatra is located at an altitude of three thousand eight hundred eighty eight mts approximately and is about 141 km from Srinagar. It’s about seventy five ft high and at least eighty ft deep, with its outer mouth measuring about forty yards throughout.
Inside the Amarnath cave, the stalagmite is shaped as a result of freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave on to the ground and grows up vertically from the cave ground. It’s considered to be a Shiva Linga by Hindus. In accordance with Hindu spiritual perception, the dimensions of Shiva lingam at Amarnath Cave will increase and reduces with the totally different phases of the moon.
Along with Shiva lingam, two more ice formations exist within the cave that are believed to be of Maa Parvati and their son Ganesha. It remains under the snow all year long except during the summer months of June and July when the snow melts enough to make it accessible. This is the only time when devotees make the annual pilgrimage to Amarnath.
The Legend in regards to the significance of Amarnath Cave is as follows :-
Amarnath 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.
Once Maa Parvati requested Shiv ji to let her know why and when he began carrying the beads of heads ( Mund Mala) to which Lord Shiva replied when ever you’re born I add another head in my beads. Maa Parvati mentioned , “My Lord, my body is destroyed each time and I die time and again, however you might be Immortal. Please let me know the key of this.” Lord Shiva replied that it is because of the Amar Katha and whoever knows that Katha turns into Immortal.”
Maa Parvati insisted to listen to that Amar Katha and after convincing Lord for a very long time, Lord Shiva decided to narrate that story to Maa Parvati. To relate the story, Lord Shiva started searching for a completely lonely place so that no living being can hear that Amar Katha except for Maa Parvati. He finally discovered the 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). On the banks of Lake Sheshnag, He released the snakes. He decided to depart his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill). At Panjtarni, Shivji left the 5 Parts behind (Earth , Water, Air , Fire and Sky) which make living being. He’s the Lord of those components.
It’s believed that as an emblem of sacrificing the earthly world, Lord Shiva carried out the Tandav Dance. After abandoning all these, He entered the Holy Amarnath Cave together with Parvati Maa. Lord Shiva then took his Samadhi on the Deer Skin. To make sure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Story , He created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to get rid of each dwelling factor in and around the HolyCave.
After this He began narrating the secret of immortality to Maa Parvati. However as a matter of probability one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It’s believed to be non living and more over it was protected by Shiva -Parvati Asan . The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg had been listening to the story and were making cooing sound which made Shiva really feel that Mata Parvati is still listening to the story and he continued telling it. In this way, each the Pigeons heard the story of being immortal.
After ending the story, when Lord Shiva noticed that Parvati was sleeping, He wondered who was making the cooing sounds when he was narrating the story. He then found the 2 pigeons and have become indignant and tried to kill them however the pigeons stated that if you’ll kill us then the legend of this story shall exist no more. Then Lord Shiva left them alive. It’s said that even today the devotees usually see a pair of pigeons right here.
Discovery of Holy Cave :
The traditional epics narrate a story which goes like this. The valley of Kashmir was beneath water .It was an enormous lake. Kashyap Rishi drained the water by number of rivers and rivulets . In those days Bhrigu Rishi came that way on a visit to The Himalyas. He was the first to have Darshans of this Holy Cave . When folks heard of the Lingam, Amarnath for them grew to become Shiva’s abode and a Centre of pilgrimage . Since then Lacs of devotees carry out the pilgrimage through powerful terrain and avail everlasting happiness.
The trek to Amarnath, within the month of sharavan (July–August) has the religious flock to this unbelievable shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the form of a Lingam, is shaped naturally of an Ice Stalagmite, which waxes and wanes with the Moon’s cycle . By its side are fascinating, two extra Ice Lingams, that of Maa Parvati and of their son, Ganesha .
Route and services:
The State Road Transport Company and Private Transport Operators provide the regular services from Jammu to Pahalgam and Baltal. Additionally privately hired taxis can be found from Jammu & Kashmir. The base factors for the pilgrim’s trek are picturesque Pahalgam and Sonamarg, a large tented township springs up to accommodate the pilgrims at both these locations.
The conduct of the yatra is a huge job through which the Jammu & Kashmir State Authorities take the assistance of the security departments for providing safety and serving to to maintain the route open. En route the cave, numerous non-profit organizations arrange food supply and resting tents referred to as pandals which can be found free of charge to the pilgrims. Close to the shrine, hundreds of tents that are erected by locals might be employed for an evening’s stay. Helicopter services from base camp to Panjtarni (6 km from the cave) are additionally available from numerous private operators.
In current instances the Baltal route via Sonamarg has additionally become extremely popular due to its short distance track. It’s nearly sixteen km long, however has a really steep gradient and is quite troublesome to climb. It begins from Baltal and passes through Domial, Barari, and Sangam to reach the holy cave.
Important Tips for Amarnath Yatra:
- Achieve physical fitness a month before the Yatra.
- Begin deep breathing exercise as there is lack of oxygen at high altitudes.
- Carry warm and comfortable clothes during the Yatra as temperatures can drop radically.
- Carry a raincoat and torch as it might rain or snow during the Yatra.
- Keep some identification document of yourself with you all the time.
- Carry a water bottle and some dry fruits to snack on the journey.
- Keep a moisturizer or a cold cream to protect your skin from dry conditions.
- Follow the instructions given by the Yatra administration.
- Carry basic medication along with you.
- Take regular breaks and try not to exert yourself too much during the climb.