About the Temple
The prominent religious destination dedicated to Lord Shiva, the holy Amarnath temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir. Amarnath temple is one of the venerable pilgrimage places for Hindus. The temple is located at the height of 12,760 ft. The ancient cave of Amarnath is situated at the end of Lidder valley and it is 48 km long.
Here, the Lord Shiva is worshipped in form of a ice lingam. The ice Shiv lingam is formed when the water from the roof of the cave gets collected and starts freezing on the floor. According to Hindu religious belief, the size of Shiva lingam at Amarnath Cave changes with the different phases of the moon. Along with Shiva lingam, two more ice formations can be seen in the cave which represents Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh.
Lord Shiva in the form of ice-lingam conferred immortality to gods & thus he is known as ‘Amresh’ or ‘Amreshwar’.The Amarnath Yatra is organised every year by the state Government in the month of "sharavan" during July - August. Each year, lacs of devotees visit the cave to worship the ice Shiv lingam.
Amarnath Cave Story
The Amarnath Cave has a great significance. As per legend, Lord Shiva had chosen this cave to narrate the immortal secrets and formation of the universe to Goddess Parvati.
Once, Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the reason for wearing the beads of heads. Lord Shiva replied whenever you born, I add one head in my beads. Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the reason behind him being the immortal and why she has to keep on dying again and again? Lord Shiva said that there is a secret behind it. On Goddess Parvati’s insistence, Lord Shiva decided to narrate the story to Parvati.
Before narrating the story, Lord Shiva started looking for an absolutely lonely place so that no living being can hear the immortal secret except for Goddess Parvati. At last he found the Amarnath Cave. He left all his belonging at various places on the way to Amarnath cave. He left his bull Nandi at Pahalgam, Moon at Chandanwadi, snakes on the banks of Sheshnag lake, his son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat and at Panjtarni, he left his Five Elements i.e. Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Sky.
After this, Lord Shiva entered in this holy Amarnath Cave with Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva sat on the Deer Skin and took a samadhi. To further make sure that no living being could hear the immortal secret, he created a rudra, Kalagni and ordered him to set fire near the cave so that every living being around that place could be destroyed. He then narrated the immortal secret to Goddess Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying in the cave remained protected . It was non living and was protected by the presence of Shiva -Parvati. The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal as they listened the immortal secret.
Many pilgrims claims having seen the pair of pigeons near the Amarnath cave.
Devotees visit Amarnath Cave close to the festival of Shravani fair that is held between July-August.
How to reach
By Road:Jammu and Srinagar are well connected by road. Buses and Taxies can be hired from Jammu.
By Train: The nearest rail head is Jammu which is located at a distance of 315 km from Pahalgham.
By Air: The closest airport is Srinagar located at the distance of 95 km from Pahalgham.
There are two routes for Amarnath temple. One is Jammu – Pahalgham route which is also known as traditional route. The total distance of Jammu-Pahalgham- Amarnath temple is 365 km. The second route is Jammu-Batal route. The total distance of Jammu- Batal-Amarnath temple is 414 km.
To complete the journey in one day devotee may hire a helicopter to Panchtarni from Batal or Pahalgham.