Amarnath Yatra and its significance
The sacred and holy book Rig Veda describes Lord Shiva as the most distinguished, demolisher and indigent living god. Lord Shiva is defined as great yogi and his presence is chanted in many mantras. Myths are that once Lord Shiva was narrating the path to recreation to Mata Parvati and unknown to them a pair of mating doves pried their conversation and learnt this secret. Knowing the secret of recreation the pair of doves are said to reborn again and again and this myth has evolved Amarnath cave as an eternal place. There are many legends associated with the Amarnath Shrine. The Amarnath Shrine can be visited via Baltal also.
The cave of Amarnath witnesses many Pilgrims throughout the year to have a glimpse of the Divine Ice Lingum. The Ice Lignum is symbolised as a form Lord Shiva. The journey to the holy shrine of Amarnath is at its peak during the months of Sharavan (July -August). The image of Lord Shiva is said to form naturally on the Ice-Lingum. Adjacent to the Shiva Lingum are two small Lingums which are known to be of Mata Parvati and Lord Ganesha. The Ice Lingums waxes and wanes with the shadows of moon.
Amarnath is situated near Lidder Valley at 3,888m height from sea level. From Srinagar, the journey to Amarnath is about 141 Km while from Pahalgam the journey is cut short to 46 km. Many Pilgrims prefer to commence the journey from Chandanwari. The Journey takes 5 days to reach back from Amarnath to Chandanwari. The overall distance is 40 Km and many shelters are made for halting and resting. Sheshnag and Panchtarni are major halt sites for spending nights.
The first day of the journey covers 12 Km trek from Chandanwari to Sheshnag. The route resembles a mythical snake head through mountain ranges. The second day trek also covers 12 Km. The journey starts from Sheshnag Lake to Panchtarni. The path gains height at Mahaguna Pass which is at 4,600m height from sea-level. The last camp is made near the Holy Shrine.
The journey of 6 Km is left from the last camp to the Holy cave. Pilgrims are suggested to leave early in the mornings as a long queue is waiting for the entry to the cave. The darshan of the Lingum is a hasty affair as many Pilgrims are waiting for their turn. While in the queue pilgrims are seen singing Aarti, Mantras for Lord Shiva. The journey is a rewarding experience for those who have faith in Lord Shiva.
If you are planning to visit Amarnath, the following destinations might be of your interest