Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath cave stands at 3,888 m. and is 46 Km.
From Pahalgam and 141 Km. from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimages subscribes that the Amarnath yatra be undertaken from Srinagar,
the more common practice is to begin journey at Chandanwari,
and cover the distance to Amarnath and back in five days.
Pahalgam is 96 Km. Srinagar.
Amarnath is regarded as one of principal Hindu Dhams. The holy cave is the residence of the holy trinity, Shiva lord. The guard of the absolute, lord Shiva, the destroyer, is present in the form of ice Lingam in this cave located at a more remote end of the valley of Lidder. This lingam is made naturally of a stalagmite of ice which awakes and weakens with the moon.
The trek to Amarnath Yatra begins at Srinagar
on the panchami day of the bright half of the month. The next
halt enroute is Pampur, 9 miles south east of Srinagar. Subsequent
halts are at Avantipur, Brijbihara and Martand. Martand is
known for its ancient temple dedicated to the Sun God - now
in ruins. Enroute to Martand are Anantnag and Gautamnag.
Martand is known as the architectural lion of Kashmir. It
is a temple with a colonnade of 84 columns full of artistic
work. This temple dates back to Lalitaditya of Kashmir of
the 8th century. The next halt is at Aishmukam, and the next
is Pahalgam, which is reached on the day of Dasami, the tenth
day of the bright half of the month. At Pahalgam is the confluence
of the rivers Seshnag and Liddar.
Next the enroute of stop is Chandanwadi, from where the confluence of the rivers Asthan Marg and Seshnag. Promote is to the top Pishu Ghati, thought to be the site where the demons were crushed by the gods. Promote is to the top the lake Seshnag with a size of approximately 12000 feet above sea level. The next halt is at Wavjan before to raise it stiff with the passage of Mahagunus to a size of 14000 feet, after which there is to the bottom a slope carrying out to Panchatarni. From here, the cave of Amarnath is reached the day of full moon, and the pélerinage is complete.
The cave of Amarnath was where Shiva lord reported the secrecy of immortality, Amar Katha with his Wife Parvat. Shiva hesitated initially but finally gave inside.Shiva wanted to reveal the secrecy in a place of isolation far from any life being and thus chose the cave of Amarnath.
In preparation, Shiva left
his Nandi (the Bull), which he rode at Pahalgam. At Chandanwari,
he released the moon from his hair and on the banks of Lake
Sheshnag, he released the snakes. Son Ganesha was left at
Mahagunas Parvat and at Panjtarni, Shiva left the Five Elements
behind - earth, water, air, fire and sky - that make life
possible. As a final precaution, Shiva created Rudra named
Kalagni and ordered him to set afire and eliminate every living
thing in and around the Holy Cave. Finally, Shiva and Parvati
entered the Amarnath Cave where he began meditating on a deerskin.
He then narrated the Amar Katha to Parvati. Unknown to them,
a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and
learned the secret. Reborn again and again, they have made
the cave their eternal abode. Today, pilgrims claim seeing
the pair of doves when they trek the arduous route to pay
their obeisance at Shivalinga formed naturally of an ice stalagmite.
The story narrated by people about the
discovery of this Holy Cave is of a 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.
The 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 Himalyas. 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.
The climatic conditions are very uncertain. Rain or snowfall may take place at any time or place during
the Amarnath 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.