As per legend, Lord Shiva had chosen this cave to describe the secrets of immortality and formation of the universe to Maa Parvati.
Once Maa Parvati asked Lord Shiva that when He started wearing the beads of heads. On this, Lord Shiva replied whenever you were born. Maa Parvati asked – why are you immortal and I keep on dying again and again? Lord Shiva said that this is due to the Amar Katha. Maa Parvati insisted to hear that Amar Katha and after convincing Lord for a long time, Lord Shiva decided to narrate that story to Maa Parvati.
To narrate the story, Lord Shiva started looking for an absolutely lonely place so that no living being can hear that Amar Katha except for Maa Parvati. He finally found the Amarnath Cave. To reach there, He left all his belonging on the way like His bull Nandi at Pahalgam, His Moon at Chandanwari, His snakes at the banks of Lake Sheshnag, His son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat and at Panjtarni, He left his Five Elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Sky).
After this, Lord Shiva entered in this holy Amarnath Cave with Maa Parvati. Lord Shiva sat on the Deer Skin and took a samadhi. To further make sure that not even a single living being could hear the secret Amar Katha, He created a rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to set fire around the cave so that everything living around that place could be destroyed. He then started narrating the story of immortality to Maa Parvati. But in spite of all these efforts, one egg remained protected under the deer skin on which the Lord was sitting. But it was considered as non-living.
Then Shiva started reciting the mantra. But Parvati was very tired and went to sleep. However, at that time, the pigeon’s eggs hatched and the young pigeons were making noises. Shiva thought Parvati was listening and hence continued.
When the mantra was over, Shiva saw that Parvati was asleep, so who was making the noise? At that time, he saw sage Vasudev running away. Shiva threw an arrow at him, but sage Vasudev entered the womb of a pregnant women. The gods told Shiva the futulity of trying to kill Vasudev since he had already heard the mantra. So Shiva took back his arrow. Vasudev came out of the womb and went to his heavenly abode with his body.
A pair of pigeons was born out of that egg and supposedly became immortal. Pilgrims can still see the pigeon pair while going towards the Amarnath Cave.
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.
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.
Devotees visit Amarnath Cave close to the festival of Shravani Mela that is held between July-August.
From Pahalgam – A traditional route
To reach Amarnath Cave, one has to reach Pahalgam either from Jammu (315 Km) or from Srinagar (96km). Take a bus or taxi from Jammu to reach Pahalgam or reach Srinagar by air and from there take a car, bus or taxi. From Pahalgam, devotees have to reach Chandanwari (16 km)and this distance can also be covered by using road transport. Pilgrims can either camp at Pahalgam or Chandanwari.
From Chandanwari, pilgrims climb the height to reach Pissu Top that is believed to be formed by the dead bodies of Rakshas who were killed by Lord Shiva.
To reach at Sheshnag, pilgrims follow a steep incline. The entire route has untouched wild scenery with cascading stream on one side. The place got its name from the Seven Peaks. The shape of the peaks resemble that of the head of the mythical snake.
From Sheshnag one has to cover the steep height of 4.6 km to reach Pa
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Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board
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