Spirituality is a beautiful journey that begins from within; it connects you to your ever-glowing soul, the pure consciousness. Seekers of the spiritual world always seek to find answers and travel to distant places to attain spiritual knowledge. India is one country, where spirituality is deeply rooted and which better place than Amarnath to explore your own divinity and find answers that take you to the path of enlightenment. Amarnath is a Hindu shrine, which is located in Jammu and Kashmir in India.
The Amarnath Cave which is home to the Lingam of Lord Shiva is surrounded by plush snow crest mountains. Amarnath Cave is located at an altitude of 3,888 meters and is about 141 kms from Srinagar. Pilgrims and tourists can witness the merging of Amravati and Panjtarni rivers while they are on their way to the Amarnath Cave and can take a dip in the holy river Amravati before entering the cave. Once at the Amarnath cave, you’ll see two Shivlings, one of Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. Lakhs of devotees from all over the world throng Amarnath battling chilly winds, narrow roads and high altitudes to worship at the shrine.
The Amarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. Devotees visit this temple to get a glimpse of the Lingam of Lord Shiva which is formed from water drops that are frozen to build vertically. However, the Lingam waxes from May to August. According to religious practitioners, the Lingam grows and melts with the moon phases.
Address: Baltal Amarnath Trek, Forest Block, Anantnag, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192230, India
Timings: Amarnath Cave is open all days of the week, from 4:00 AM - 11:00 PM
• Amarnath is one of the most important religious places in India and every Shiva worshipper takes the Amarnath Yatra once in their lifetime.
• Sonamarg is the base camp for devotees and tourists, who want to reach the Amarnath Cave. This place is extremely serene and gives the feeling of being in a rich countryside.
• The Sheshnag Lake is another major attraction and is located at a distance of 27 kms from Pahalgam.
Amarnath is recommended for devotees and tourists - to experience a tranquil, spiritual and holy place dedicated in reverence to Lord Shiva. It is not advisable for patients with heart conditions, asthama or any major health issues.
Once at the Srinagar Airport, pilgrims can take the helicopter services, which saves time and also you don’t experience fatigue.
The closest railway station to Amarnath is Jammu, which is located at a distance 315 km from Pahalgam,
From Jammu, cabs are available that take you to Pahalgam. The Pahalgam route to Amarnath Cave takes about 5 days to reach and people normally use ponies to reach there.
Hire a cab from Jammu till Baltal and from there devotees can walk to the Amarnath cave, chanting Om Namah Shivay. It is just a day’s trek.
The best time to visit Amarnath is between May to September. During summer, Amarnath climate temperature ranges from 9 to 34 degrees. However, the ideal time to take the Amarnath Yatra is in the month of July and August and it is advisable to wear warm clothes as the winter climate is harsh and chilly
There are many stories revolving around the discovery of Amarnath Cave. One popular legend narrates that Bhrigu Muni was the first one to discover the cave. The valley of Kashmir was plunged under water and Kashyap Muni was the one, who drained it. Hence, Bhrigu Muni was the first one to receive Amarnath Darshan. After hearing about this news, many devotees worshipped the Lingam and it became the abode of Lord Shiva. As per popular beliefs, the gadaria community, discovered the Amarnath Cave, and were the first ones to encounter Baba Barfani.
Another story recounts about Buta Malik, a shepherd, who received a bag full of coal from a saint. When he opened the bag, he was surprised to find the bag contained gold coins. Overwhelmed by gratitude, the shepherd went back to the place where he had met the saint but was unable to find him and instead discovered the Amarnath Cave.
Amarnath Cave has a special significance with several mythological stories attached to it. One significant tale talks about Lord Shiva narrating the secret of His immortality and how the universe came into existence to His wife Parvati. Listening to the story, she fell asleep, but a pair of pigeons attentively heard the story and gained all wisdom. It is said that since the pigeons got the knowledge of the Amar Katha, they are presently leading immoral lives. However, many believe it’s a myth because pigeons don’t have a chance of survival in such extreme climatic conditions.
The journey of faith and devotion is not an easy one. However, located at the altitude of 2743 m, Baltal is the perfect refuge for Amarnath Cave pilgrims. This base camp provides all the necessary amenities for you to refuel your energy with food, toilets and tents located at a distance of 100 metres.
Another base camp, Pahalgam has a captivating view, with mountains laced with pine forests. Don’t forget to capture beauty at its best, when you reach Pahalgam. This riveting place is perfect to enhance your Instagram page with brilliant photography.
• At the Amarnath Cave, there are ice Lingas that are naturally formed, each depicting Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha.
• Nearly 5000 years old, the Amarnath Cave naturally forms ice and the process is known as Swayambhu.
• To narrate the story of immortality to his wife, Lord Shiva went to Amarnath Cave, leaving behind the moon, the bull, the snakes and the five elements, earth, air, water, fire and sky.