Amarnath Yatra

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Amarnath Yatra

History

Lord Shiva is known by many names and Amarnath (The Immortal God) is one of them. Nestled in the Himalayas at an altitude of 3,880, Amarnath Holy Cave is 141 km from Srinagar and 45 km from Pahalgam. The Holy Cave is considered to be the most sacred temple in India dedicated to Lord Amarnath. It is believed that it was here that Lord Shiva revealed the secret of creation and immortality to the daughter of the Himalayas and his wife, Goddess Parvati.

The journey to this Holy Cave is known as the Amarnath Yatra that takes place each year during the month of July and August. It is during this time that the natural Shivalingam (made of ice) is formed in the cave attaining full form on the full moon day. By the side of the lingam, are two more ice stalagmites, representing Parvati and their son, Ganesha. The route to the Amarnath Caves is one of the toughest treks and cannot be done by the faint hearted. A proper medical checkup is required and only the ones that are considered fit are allowed to take the Amarnath Yatra.

Admission to the cave is regulated, and darshan of the Holy Trinity is a speedy affair, as there are number of pilgrims waiting to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam or the Shivalingam. The Darshan is accompanied by devotees singing bhajans, chanting incantations, and priests performing aarti and puja, summoning the blessing of Shiva, the divine, the pure, and the absolute.

As the route witnesses pilgrims only between these two months, it has helped in preserving the original beauty of the track. The route to Amarnath is remarkably unique and marvelously beautiful. And of course, the Sheshnag Lake is an added attraction enroute. This mountain lake is surrounded by seven identical peaks that resemble the head of a mythical snake called Sheshnag.

The annual Yatra to Holy Amarnath Cave is organized by the Jammu & Kashmir State Government and the registration can be done from the many tourists offices located at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jammu and Srinagar.

Best time to visit

The only time when the pilgrims can visit this holy shrine is during the month of Sharavan (July and August). The dates may, however, vary depending on the weather conditions and according to Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) in the month of Sharavan (Vikrama Samwat).

Trivia

Interesting to know that while Lord Shiva was disclosing the secret of creation and immortality to his consort, Godess Parvati fell asleep and it was the two doves who overheard the secret. Having learnt the secret, the two doves attained immortality and have, since then, made the cave their eternal home!

Timing

The 45 km Yatra from Pahalgam can be covered in about four to five days. The route to the Holy Cave can be reached from Pahalgam via Chandanwari, Pissu Top, Sheshnag, Panchtarni, finally reaching the Holy Cave.


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