The annual Amarnath Yatra is a journey undertaken by thousands of Indian pilgrims to the mountain shrine of Shri Amarnath ji located at an altitude of 3,880 meters in the south Kashmir Himalayas. The journey is only allowed during summers, and it begins with a special religious ceremony in which devotees make an offering to their gods. People form a sprint to visit this ancient temple, whose Ice image of Lord Shiva stretches into a towering stalagmite. The Yatra will take place between 28th June and 26th August - during these 2 months 15,000 people are allowed per day.
For Hindus, the Shivalingam that is found here in Amarnath is a sacred site. During the Purnima festival, when it becomes complete, it is celebrated by all the followers of Hinduism. There is much more to know about Amarnath, which you can find out by reading Hindu scriptures or visiting the temple yourself.
The Rigveda is believed to have been composed between 1700 - 1100 BCE. Its verses revealed that Shiva was the deity who was powerful and good and the destroyer of evil. He is considered a living God because of his presence in astronomy, Vedic myths, and even some rituals throughout Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro that have verified his power. Lord Shiva is still revered in India today.
The Amarnath cave is a place where Lord Shiva told the story of the creation of the universe and immortality to his companion Parvati. It is said that once upon a time, Parvati curiously asked Lord Shiva why he wore Mund Mala or beads of the head when he answered that, every time she was born, he wore a new head and added it to his Mund mala. This puzzled her and she asked Lord Shiva why it was that he was all immortal while she died every time and her body would be destroyed. Lord Shiva then answered Parvati, this happened because he narrated the story of the creation of the world and chose a secluded place for no one else could hear him tell her about it.
Sages believe that Shiva's popular story, titled Amar Katha, was born when he and Parvati went up to the mountains for a more peaceful place for their prayers. There is a sign at the entrance of Panjtarni cave pointing to a story from the Mahabharata where Shiva and Parvati leave behind an egg before they proceed on their journey. The egg evolves into two pigeons, and others who find them say they keep following those who love nature. On various occasions in years long past people have seen these pigeons flying around in the land of Kashmir.
The story of the discovery of the cave by Buta Malik tells how he found a bag full of coins after carrying one home. When he opened it, he discovered that it was filled with gold. The discovery has somewhat altered their perception of the place and now consider it a holy site that is visited every year during Purnima Festival.
Amarnath temple is located in Kashmir, 145 km east of Srinagar and the trek begins on the Panchami day of the bright half of the month at Srinagar. Pampur is nine miles away from Srinagar, while Avantipur, Brijbhara, and Martand are all sites along the way that are great to see. From there we reach one final high point--Pahalgam--where Amarnath Cave is over 3 days' worth of trekking away. From Pahalgam, we move north to Chandanwadi and finally arrive at Amarnath Cave on Dasamy.
Some people take on the challenge to visit the holy temple in Savan during July and August. As you stand amongst one of the biggest religious sites in India, you’ll be able to witness one of the most popular annual events. Not only is it a great opportunity to see beautiful architecture, but it’s one of the few times when everyone comes together peacefully to celebrate this significant part of Indian history.
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