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Amarnath Temple

About Amarnath Temple:

Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath Shrine stands at 3,888m, 46 Km from Pahalgam and 14 Kms from Baltal. Though the original pilgrimages subscribes that the yatra (journey) be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin journey at Chandanwari, and cover the distance to Amarnathji and back in five days. Pahalgam is 96 Kms from Srinagar.

Amarnathji is considered to be one of the major Hindu Dhams. The holy cave is the abode of Lord Shiva. The guardian of the absolute, Lord Shiva (Indian god), the destroyer, is enshrined in the form of an ice-lingam in this cave. This lingam is formed naturally, which is believed to wax and wane with the moon.

The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), about 141 km (88 mi) from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir and reached through Pahalgam town. The shrine forms an important part of Hinduism, and is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu and other devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave across challenging mountainous terrain.

The Amarnath temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, temples throughout South Asia that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu God Sati.

History of Amarnath Temple:

Behind the discovery of the Holy Shrine (Hindu temple) lies an interesting story. Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked Shivji to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala), to which Bhole Shankar replied, “whenever you are born I add more heads to my bead”. Parvati said, “I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please tell me the reason behind this”. "Bhole Shankar replied that for this you will have to listen to the Amar Katha"

Shiv agreed to narrate the detailed story to Maa Parvati. He started for a lonely place where no living being could listen to the immortal secret and ultimately chose Amarnath Cave. In the hush-hush, he left his Nandi (the Bull which He used to ride) at Pahalgam. At Chandanwari, he released Moon (Chand) from his hair (Jataon). At the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he released the snakes. He decided to leave his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat. At Panjtarni, Shivji left the Five Elements behind (Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky) which give birth to life and of which he is the Lord. After leaving behind all these, Bhole Shankar entered the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati Maa and took his Samadhi. To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, he created Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this he started narrating the secret of immortality to Maa Parvati. But as a matter of chance a pair of pigeons overhead the story and became immortal. Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of pigeons at the Holy Shrine even today and are amazed as to how these birds survive in such a cold and high altitude area.

The ancient epics narrate another story. The valley of Kashmir was under water. It was all a big lake. Kashyap Rishi drained the water through a number of rivers and rivulets. In those days Bhrigu Rishi came that way on a visit to The Himalayas. He was the first to have Darshan 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 achieve 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 is believed to wax and wane with the Moon's cycle. By its side are fascinating, two more Ice Lingams, that of Maa Parvati and of their son, Ganesha.

It is believed that Lord Shiva left Nandi, the bull, at Pahalgam (Bail Gaon). At Chandanwari, he released the Moon from his hair (Jata). On the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he released his snakes. At Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Mountain), he left his son Lord Ganesha. At Panjtarni, Lord Shiva left behind the five elements - Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky. As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world, Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Dance. Then, finally, Lord Shiva entered the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Mata Parvati.

Best Time to Visit:

Usually, till the end of June, the Amarnath cave is open to the public. Hence, May is not best time to visit but June can be considered as an option. Amarnath Yatra began on 27 June and end on 3 August 2020. Summer in Amaranth is cool and pleasant. The temperature never goes beyond 28 degree Celsius. Nights are relatively cooler. However, located at a high altitude the Amarnath cave and routes leading to it remains covered in snow. But, during these months preparations for the Amarnath Yatra begins. Efforts are made to make the trekking route clear. Usually, till the end of June, the Amarnath cave is open to the public. Hence, May is not best time to visit but June can be considered as an option.

Features:

Although the existence of the Holy Cave has been mentioned in the Puranas, the popular story narrated by people about the re-discovery of this Holy Cave is of a shepherd Buta Malik. Story goes like this: 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 overwhelmed him with joy. He ran to thank the Saint. But the Saint had disappeared. Instead, he found The Holy Cave and the Ice Shiv Lingam there in. He announced this discovery to the Villagers. Then onwards this became a sacred place of Pilgrimage.

En route the cave, various non-governmental organisations have set up food supply and resting tents called pandals which are available for free to the pilgrims. Near the shrine, hundreds of tents which are erected by locals can be hired for a night's stay. Helicopter services from base camp to Panjtarni (6 km from the cave) are also available from various private operators.

It is believed that Lord Shiva left Nandi, the bull, at Pahalgam (Bail Gaon). At Chandanwari, he released the Moon from his hair (Jata). On the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he released his snakes. ... Then, finally, Lord Shiva entered the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Mata Parvati.

Timing for Darshan at Amarnath Temple:

6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Location:

Amarnath Temple is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir, India.

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