The Amarnath Ji Temple is located at an altitude of 3888 m in the Himalayan glacial valley region and around 141 km from Srinagar, from Pahalgam, the Yatra to Amaranth Ji heads. The 90 ft long cave is enriched with mythological ornamentations and geographical extravaganza. Mainly the Hindu pilgrims trek to the cave to find out the snow structured stalagmites formed for some time from the water droplets. Trekking through the rough gorges of the greater Himalaya is pretty tough. There you can avail pony rides, which is a pretty good alternative for those who are not comfortable in walking that much.
It is said that from the medieval times, people are visiting Amarnath Ji. Since time immemorial this place has been worshipped. Reference of King Aryaraja is found who used to worship the God in the cave in 300BC. In the historical chronicles like Rajtarangini, reference of Amarnath Ji Temple is found. Queen Suryamathi presented Trishul, Balalingas and other sacred emblems of Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati in the cave temple. Priyabhattas’s Rajavalipataka has detailed account of the temple and the chronicles of the ancient Hindu temple in details.
It has been referred in related accounts of the cave that after the middle ages, people forgot about the temple and the magic it creates each year by forming the ice lingams until one day a shepherded Buta Malik rediscovered it once again in the 15th century.
There is another story of Rishi Bhrigu is found. This ancient sage and a Shaiva himself once saw a vision of the temple and he was the first to visit the temple and soon after that it became famous among the Hindus. Today lakhs of people trek to Amaranth Ji only to have a look at the amazing snow lingam and offer puja to the lord of the lords Mahadev.
The stalagmite is formed because of the sedimentation and freezing of the water drops of the cave that grows vertically to reach the cave roof from the floor. The largest one is considered to be the Shiva Lingam and the rest of the two small ones are considered as Mata Parvati and their son Lord Ganesha. The other small lingam is deified as the Bhairava. July to August, the Yatra is arranged under the constant surveillance of the Indian Army. Hindus believe that the lingam grows and shrinks with the different phases of moon. Once it reached more than 6 feet on one shravana, which is still a wonder.
There is a spiritual believe among the Hindus regarding the formation of the Ice Lingam in Amarnath temple. According to Hindu Mythology, Mata Parvathi once asked Shiv Ji about the secret of life and eternity. The lord tried to avoid his divine consort several times but finally He couldn’t avoid Her anymore and finally decided to choose a place where they can sit together and in a mediation form He can share the secret of life in complete reticence with the Goddess. He chooses this cave to share the knowledge with the Devi and since then, this place acquired the Holiness and later on this became a pilgrimage for the Hindus like Kedar nath and other Jotirlingas.
Every year in the month of July to August, the Amarnath Ji Yatra is conducted. It starts from Pahalgam.
The nearest airport is Sheikh ul Alam Airport or the Srinagar Airport. Those who wish to fly to reach Kashmir first, they have to avail flights to Srinagar. Almost all the major cities are interconnected with Srinagar airport. From there they have to go direct to Pahalgam to start for the Yatra.
The nearest railway stop is Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir. From the Jammu Tawai, Yatris to the Amarnath Ji pilgrimage have to reach Palahgam to start for the journey.
Jammu and Kashmir are well connected by roadways. Buses and taxis are available to reach Pahalgam, which is the starting point of the journey.
How to Reach Amarnath Ji Holy Cave?
There are two routes that are mainly followed by the Pilgrims:
Jammu - Pahalgam - Holy Cave Route:
Jammu to Pahalgam (315 km) –
The distance between Jammu to Pahalgam is covered by Taxis or Buses. These are available at Tourist Reception Centre, J & K Govt., Raghunath Bazaar-early in the morning. But one can also
The road map-
Pahalgam --> Chandanwari --> Pissu Top --> Sheshnag --> Panjtarni --> Holy Cave
Jammu-Baltal-Holy Cave Route:
Jammu - Baltal (400km). -
The distance between Jammu and Baltal can be covered by Taxis or Buses that are available at Tourist Reception
The route is:
Jammu --> Udhampur --> Kud --> Patnitop --> Ramban --> Banihal - -> KaziGund --> Anantnag --> Srinagar --> Sonamarg --> Baltal.