Amarnath cave is considered to be one of the most famous Hindu shrines that have been situated in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple is worshipped in the name of god Shiva. In and around the cave there are snowy mountains. The cave is also fully covered with ice but it tends to melt in summers for some time when it is opened for the pilgrims. Every year thousands of pilgrims tend to visit the temple situated on challenging mountains in order to view an ice stalagmite.
When the snow starts to melt down a little, during the month of july/august, hindu's tend to visit this holy place for the purpose of worshipping lord Shiva and for paying homage to the iced shiva-lingam appearing once in a year inside the holy cave. It is often believed that the visit to this holy pilgrimage is often very fruitful for the pilgrims. A person completing his/her journey in this sacred place gets ‘moksha'.
Mythology and Legends
As per the Amarnath Dham Story, Maa Parvati insisted Lord Shiva to narrate a story regarding the ways to get immortal. After numerous denials, Lord Shiva agreed to answer Parvati and stated that the story behind immortality was known only to Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. He further stated that anyone listening to this story would be immortal. Lord Shiva searched for a place where no one lived. After a while Amarnath came in his mind and found it to be the best place. He started narrating the story and in between Parvati slept regarding which Shiva was not aware and he kept on telling the story. Later, he identified that no one else was there but two pigeons have been listening this story. Till date pilgrims find this pigeons there.
Most of the people narrate that the discovery of the temple is related to a Gujjar or a shepherd named Buta Malik. The main credit for the invention of this temple goes to him. According to the story, Buta Malik was offered a bag of coal by a saint. When he reached home and opened his bag, he was surprised to see that bag contained gold coins instead of coal. In order to thank the saint he ran back but did not find the saint anywhere. He saw the Holy Cave as well as the Shiva Lingam. In order to let the people know regarding the discovery of the cave and the Shiva Lingum, he ran back to the village. Amarnath Yatra has become a sacred place for the pilgrims since that time.
According to a prehistoric epic, there is other story behind the discovery of this temple. The Kashmir Valley was covered by water. Kashyap Rishi took out the excess water by means of various rivers and rivulets. For the purpose of visiting the Himalayas, Bhrigu Rishi used to come that way. He was the first person who sought this holy cave. After hearing about this place, Amarnath has become a centre of pilgrimage for innumerable number of people.
Amarnath cave is located at an altitude of 3888m which is 141 kilometer far from Srinagar. The cave is full of snow. Within the 40m high temple, the linga is created because of chilling of the water droplets falling from the roof to the floor and growing upright from the floor. This is known as Shiva Linga in Hinduism. During the month of May to August, snow tends to melt from the Himalayas and the water tends to seep in the rock forming caves.