Legend of Amarnath Cave
About Amarnath Ji
Amarnath is 145 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir. There is an ice Silva-linga here that changes size with the seasons, and also as the moon waxes and wanes it becomes bigger and smaller. On the full moon day the linga is about 6 ft high. Each year on the full moon day of July-August (Sravana) when the Siva-linga attains its maximum height there is a festival at this cave temple. It is said that Lord Siva first appeared on this day.
It is located in a glacial valley at 4,175m (13,700 ft.). The cave is about 150 feet high and 90 feet long. Within the cave there are four or five ice formations that resemble the figures of different gods. The biggest figures of different gods. The biggest figure is regarded as Siva (Amarnath). On the left side of the linga is an ice formation called Ganesh, and on the right side is one of Parvati and Bhairava.
Where exactly is the Amarnath cave?
Amarnath is a 150 feet high and 90 feet long cave located nearly 145 km east of Srinagar. Located in a Himalayan glacial valley at a height of approximately 4,000m the cave has four ice formations, which are considered figurines of different Hindu gods. The biggest figure is regarded as that of Shiva. On the left side of the lingam there is an ice formation that is considered to be Ganesha. Similarly, formations representing Parvati and Bhairava are on the right side of the ice lingam.
History of Amarnath Caves
Existence of Amarnath Caves is found in the holy Puranas and discovery of Amarnath caves was done afterwards. As per the story narrated by legends there are two most significant stories popular in the region. In ancient epics, legends said that Kashmir was the huge water lake and once Kashyap Reshi drained the water of this Kashmir valley through streams of rivers. During that period Reshi Bhrigu came this way of Himalayas and discovered the ice lingam of Lord Shiva in Amarnath caves. Slowly and steadily people got aware and this shrine became the renowned place of pilgrim.
The most important event during June, July & August, is Amarnath Yatra to the Holy Pilgrimage. This is an annual event when thousands of Hindus from different corners of the Globe visit Amarnath caves. The pilgrims trek from Pahalgam to these caves and worship the great ice Lingam. Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in a cave in Amarnath. Unknow to them, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the doves-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva). This is an event you certainly will talk about for the rest of your life.
There is famous Rigvedic Verse that says "Ekam Sat" that is "There is one Being ,the sages call Him by many names." The God (Parmeshwar) has three deities who carry on the world. This is Known as Holy Trinity. Brahma- the creator, Vishnu - the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh) - the purifier and perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse. "We Worship Tryambaka (Rudra), Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment, May He release me, like the cucumber from its stem, From Mortal Life, But not From Immorality.
Description of Amarnath Caves
Amarnath Caves are significantly larger in shape. From distance it looks mammoth size in appearance. Its horizontal height is 75 feet and it is 80 feet deep inside the mountain. The lingam form due to drops stalagmite is of five feet with cone on the top. It is adjoined by two small blocks of ice which are said to be Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. The significance is that lingam gains its height till the full moon day and starts declining after as similar as moon starts reducing in size. On moonless day the lingam vanishes completely hence this pilgrim is visited during full moon days in shravana only.
How to Reach Amarnath Caves
The holy Cave of Amarnath is situated in the Lidder Valley at a high altitude of 3888 meters above sea level. It is approachable from Jammu through Pahalgam or Baltal. The preferred route of Amarnath Caves is via Anantnag, Pahalgam, Chandanwari, Pissu Top, Sheshnag, and Panchtarni. Other route to reach Amarnath temple is via Baltal.
When To take up Yatra
The Amarnath Yatra is organised every year by the J&K Govt. during the month of Shravan (July and August); the dates however, vary every year looking at the weather conditions and according to Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) in the month of Sharavan (Vikrama Samwat). This year Yatra will be taken up from 28 June, 2014 to 20 August, 2014.
Yatra to Baba Amarnath Holy Cave for which one has to trek a height of about 14,500 ft is full of thrill and joy. The feeling of divine which is always beneath ones' heart, burst out and one realises 'Moksha' as one attends the Cave and perform the prayer before the Shivlinga. Surrounded by beautiful valleys, mountains, one will always feel His presence on the paradise of the earth, the memory of which hardly vanishes with time A journey which will rediscover the nature and its love which is always inside but one has never felt.
The climatic conditions are very uncertain . Rain or snowfall may take place at any time or place during the 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.
Getting there and around
By Air: The nearest airport is in Srinagar. Daily flights operate to and from Delhi and Jammu.
By Rail: The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu, which is 300 kms away, and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.
By Road: Jammu and Srinagar are well linked by road.Regular buses and taxis are available and can be hired on a daily as well as full-tour basis from the Tourist Reception Center, J&K Govt.
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