Amarnath - popular yatra destination for HindusJuly 09, 2015 17:36
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Amarnath cave, a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva, is located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is located around 141 km from Srinagar and can be reached through Pahalgam town. Considered as one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, the cave is surrounded by snowy mountains and itself is covered by snow maximum time in a year, except for few months in summer. It is then opened for pilgrims during which, thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage. They challenge the mountainous terrains to worship the ice stalagmite Lingam.
Water drops that fall from the roof of the cave on to the floor freeze and grows up vertically from the floor, eventually resulting in the formation of the stalagmite inside the 40 m (130 ft) high Amarnath cave. Hindus consider the stalagmite as Shiva Linga. During May to August, the cave waxes as the snow melts in the Himalayan Mountains above the cave. As a result water seeps into the rocks of the cave and diminishes thereafter. Religious beliefs claim that the lingam grows and shrinks with phases of the moon reaching its height during summer festival. Myth claims that this is the cave where lord Shiva explained the secret behind life and eternity to Parvathi. This cave was believed to be forgotten by people prior to its discovery by a shepherd in the 15th century once again.
There is another belief that the Vale of Kashmir was submerged under water and Kashyapa Muni exhausted it through a series of rivers and rivulets. Hence, Bhrigu Muni was the first one to darshan Lord Amarnath when the waters drained.
The temple is a popular yatra destination for Hindus. A fresh batch of 1,885 pilgrims left on 9 July 2015 from the base camp to the cave shrine of Amarnath amid tight security. So far, as many as 17,487 pilgrims left from Jammu base camp for Amarnath shrine. The last batch comprised 1,494 men, 262 women, 29 children and 100 sadhus.