Situated at a height of 3,888m in Jammu and Kashmir; around 14km from Baltal and 46km fromPahalgam, the Amarnath Cave sits gracefully in a picturesque gorge in the Lidder Valley. According to the Hindu Puranas, the existence of the cave is related to pre-historic times and was rediscovered quite a few times.
Legend has it that the Amarnath Cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to reveal the secret of creation of the world and immortality to his consort Goddess Parvati. After leaving behind all his ornaments, he entered this holy cave along with Goddess Parvati with the intention to let out the secret. It is believed that while he was letting out the secret, a pigeon’s egg over heard it and became immortal. It is also believed that the pair, which was born out of the egg, can still be seen in the cave.
Two of the most popular and widely believed tales depict that once a local shepherd named Buta Malik received a bag full of coal from a saint. On returning home, he opened the bag and to his surprise, he found gold coins inside the bag! To express his gratitude, when he went to the spot where he met the saint, he couldn’t trace the holy person, but discovered this sacred cave. Since then, the Amarnath Cave has been worshipped by the devotees.
Another story says, once the entire Kashmir Valley got submerged during an epic flood. A pious saint called Kashyapa Rishi drained out the water with the help of a series of rivers and streams. After the valley reappeared, Bhrigu Muni visited the Amarnath Cave and had a ‘darshan’ of the “Lingam’. Since then, the cave has become a major pilgrimage for the Hindu devotees.
Considered to be a sacred Hindu pilgrimage, Amarnath is famed for the natural formation of Shiva Linga from the snow. A large number of devotees throng Amarnath during the months of June and August. This pious journey, which is also dubbed the holy Amarnath Yatra, begins from Chandanwadi (16kms from Pahalgam) and via Pissu, Sheshnag and Panchtarni, it concludes at Amarnath Cave situated on the Amarnath mountain. There is also another route for the Yatra starting from Jammu and via Udhampur, Patnitop, Kud, Ramban, Banihal, QaziGund, Anantnag, Srinagar and Baltal, the journey finally concludes at the holy cave.
Pilgrimage To Amarnath
Amarnath yatra is the most revered pilgrimage in Hinduism, one which every Hindu aspires to embark on once in his lifetime. This religious Yatra is organized every year to the great Himalayas, by the government of Jammu and Kashmir. The Amarnath tour is attended by thousands of domestic and international devotees. Interestingly, the main cave temple site is located at a height of 12,756 feet from the sea level and is around 141 km away from the state’s capital city, Srinagar. Though the Yatra is physically taxing, pilgrims put in a lot of effort to complete the holy tour of the scenic Amarnath caves. The Yatra can be undertaken along two routes- Baltal to Amarnath Cave and Pahalgam to Amarnath cave.