Amarnath – Shiva, in the form of a lingam, is formed naturally of an ice – stalagmite One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time
Amarnath – One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most sacred and most ancient book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns, Vedic Myths, rituals and even testify to his existance from the dawn of time. Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in a cave in Amarnath. Unknown to them, a pair of doves eavesdropped on this conversation and having learnt the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. The annual yatra to Holy Amarnath Cave, situated at 14000 ft. above sea level, is organised by the Jammu & Kashmir State Government during the month of July and August. The intending pilgrims are allowed to perform darshan from Ashard Purnimashi to Shravan Purnimashi which course spreads over a month or so.
Amarnath Yatra Procession:
Amarnath is an important centre of hindu pilgrimage and though the route is as difficult to negotiate as it is exciting, every year, thousands of devotees come to pay homage before Shiva in one of his famous Himalayan abodes.
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Amarnathji stands at 3,888 m and is 45 km from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribes that the yatra be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin the journey from Pahalgam, and cover the distance to Amarnathji and back in four or five days. Pahalgam is 96 km from Srinagar.
Since the base point for the pilgrim’s trek is picturesque Pahalgam, a large tented township springs up to accommodate the pilgrims. All intermediate halting places have the same kind of facilities as are provided at Pahalgam, and a Yatra Officer is appointed to conduct the pilgrimage.
Trek to Amarnathji
The trek from Pahalgam to Amarnathji cave is on an ancient peregrine route. The 45 – km distance is covered in four days, with night halts at Chandanwari, Sheshnag (Wawjan) and Panchtarni. The distance from Pahalgam to Chandanwari (16 km) is now covered by motor transport. The pilgrims camp here or at Pahalgam on the first night out.
The first day’s trek of 13 km from Chandanwari is through spectacular, primeval countryside. The main centre of attraction on this trek is Sheshnag, a mountain lake which derives its name from its seven peaks, resembling the heads of a mythical snake. The journey to Sheshnag follows steep inclines up the right bank of a cascading stream and wild scenery untouched by civilisation. The second night’s camp at Wawjan overlooks the deep blue water of Sheshnag lake, and glaciers beyond it. The lake is also associated with legends of love and revenge, and at the camp these are recounted by campfires, to the stillness of a pine-scented, Himalayan night.
The second day’s 12 km trek steadily gains height, winding up across Mahagunas Pass at 4,600 m and then descending to the meadow – lands of Panchtarni, the last camp enroute to the holy cave.
From Panchtarni to Amarnathji is only 6 km, but an early morning’s start is recommended for there is a long queue awaiting entrance to the cave. The same day, following darshan, devotees can return to Panchtarni in time for lunch, and continue to Wawjan to spend the fourth night out; or continue further to Zojibal, returning to Pahalgam on the 4th day.
Entrance to the cave is regulated, and darshan a hasty affair for there are many others waiting outside to pay homage before the awesome Shivalingam. The devotees sing bhajans, chant incantations, and priests perform aarti and puja, invoking the blessing of Shiva, the divine, the pure, the absolute.
• Air: The nearest aerodrome is Srinagar. There are daily flights to Srinagar from Delhi and Jammu, Helicopter Service for Amarnath Yatra is also available
• Rail : Jammu is the nearest Railway Station.
• Road : Jammu and Srinagar are also connected through road.
Amarnath Yatra Route
1. Jammu – Pahalgam – Holy Cave
2. Jammu – Baltal – Holy Cave