The Holy Lingam at Amarnath
Amarnath - Change Your Perception of Life
Amarnath, 'The Immortal God' is one of the many names of Lord Shiva. Just around 45 km away from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar, is one of the holiest temples in India dedicated to Lord Amarnath. It is actually a cave temple in which a natural Shivalingam is formed. Made of ice, this Shivalingam is one of the most venerated structures in India. The cave is situated at an altitude of 13000 feet above sea level. The reference of this sacred cave has been found in the ancient book of 'Rigveda' as well which shows it as one of the oldest pilgrimage places in India. The legend has it that, it is here Lord Shiva told the secret of creation and immortality to the daughter of Himalayas, Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva did not notice the two doves who were listening to every word spoken by Lord Shiva. The doves came to know about the secret and become immortal. They have made this cave their home. Many pilgrims have said that they have seen two doves inside the cave. The naturally formed lingam is the most spectacular and important feature of this cave. During the month of July and August, the formation of the lingam starts. On the full moon day, it attains complete form.
The Famous Amarnath yatra starts in the month of Shravan which is
in the month of July and August according to Gregorian calendar. It is
during this time the lingam is formed in the cave and to witness this
many devotees take up this yatra. The yatra starts from the scenic
hill station of Pahalgam. During the time of the yatra, many camps are
set up in the vast empty lands where the pilgrims stay before the
start of the yatra. The yatra takes around four to five days after
which you return to Pahalgam. This yatra is organized by the Govt. of
Jammu and Kashmir.
There is also a special yatra officer who is appointed by the concerned govt.
agency. The route to the Amarnath caves is one of the toughest treks in the state.
Although now it has been made a bit easy as the 16 km distance between Pahalgam and
Chandanwari is covered by a vehicle. As it is not an easy trek, it is
advised that only people with good health take up this yatra.
The route to Amarnath is amazingly unique and spectacularly beautiful. These routes witness human interference only during this yatra, and thus absence of humans from the area has been of utter help in preserving the original beauty of the track. The main attraction on this route is without a doubt the Sheshnag Lake. This mountain lake is surrounded by seven identical peaks that resemble the head of a mythical snake called Sheshnag. After two days of difficult yet magical trek journey, the devotees reach the entrance of the cave early morning on the third day. The darshan (viewing) is going to be very speedy as the number of pilgrims waiting for their turn is simply mind-boggling.
Useful Tips For Pilgrims
Before taking this tour, one should have complete information about the yatra. The pilgrims are required to register for the tour around one month prior to the date fixed for the commencement of the yatra. One should be physically fit for this tour as the yatra takes you through few of the toughest trekking routes. Although many medical camps are set up along the way, it is advised that you carry basic first aid medicines with you. Don't forget to carry woolen clothes with you as the climate can get a bit nippy. Accommodation for the pilgrims is done in good tented camps for which pilgrim have to pay with the yatra cost itself.
It is believed that a visit to the caves of Amarnath is a must for any Hindu devotee during his lifetime to achieve the path of spirituality. There are lot things that can be seen, lot of things that can be learned by undertaking the yatra to Amarnath, know by yourself how beautiful your devotion can be.
The Holy Amarnath Yatra - By Jyotsna Das|
Spiritual experiences of a devotee in the "abode of Lord Shiva".