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Baltal Amarnath Trek, Forest Block, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir 192230
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Shiva

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Discovered by Sage Bhrigu and Queen Suryamati gifted trishulas, banalingas and other sacred emblems to Amarnath temple

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Queen Suryamati gifted trishulas, banalingas and other sacred emblems to Am arnath temple 11th century A.D

About Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir

The Amarnath temple with rock-cut architecture, situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft), is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. The shrine is regarded as one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains and is itself covered with snow for the most part of the year, except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. The Amarnath temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas that commemorates the location of the fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.

History

According to the book Rajatarangini that refers to krishaanth or Amarnath, it is believed that in the 11th century AD, Queen Suryamati gifted trishulas, banalingas, and other sacred emblems to the Amarnath temple. Also, Rajavalipataka contains detailed references to the pilgrimage to the temple.

The Pilgrimage and associated Facilities

It begins with a mountainous trek of 43 kilometers from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam and cave-shrine is reached after the night halts at Sheshnag lake and Panchtarni camps. The yatra is both a way of earning revenue by the state government by imposing a tax on pilgrims and making a living by the local Shia Muslim Bakarwala- Gujjars by taking a portion of revenue and offering services to the Hindu pilgrims. The beginning of the Amarnath Yatra is marked by ‘Pratham puja to invoke the blessings of Shri Amarnathji.    

Earlier, the route was via Rawalpindi (Pakistan) but now a direct train has been introduced that connects the rest of India to Jammu. The best enjoyable time of the journey is between Guru Purnima and Shravan Purnima. There are bus services from Jammu to Pahalgam (7,500 ft.). At Pahalgam (the land of shepherds) the pilgrims can arrange for coolies or ponies to carry baggage.  The journey from here takes five days. Devotees travel on foot, either from Srinagar or from Pahalgam. The northern route is along Amarnath valley and all along the route, one can see the river Amaravati (a tributary of Chenab) which originates from Amarnath Glacier.

It is believed that Bhagwan Shiva left Nandi, the bull, at Pahalgam (Bail Gaon), released the Moon from his hair (Jata) at Chandanwari. He released his snake on the banks of Lake Sheshnag and left his son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat. At Panjtarni, Shiva left behind the five elements – Earth, Water, Air, and Sky and performed the Tandava dance as a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world and finally entered the Amarnath cave along with Parvati and both of them manifested into a lingam made of Ice.  Bhagwan Shiva became the lingam of ice and maa Parvati became the yoni of rock.

Various non-governmental organizations have set up the food supply and resting tents, pandals, for the pilgrims in en-route caves. Hundreds of tents are set up by locals that can be booked for a night’s stay. Various private operators also provide helicopter services from the base camp to Panjtarni (6 km from the cave).

 

Architecture of Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir

The Shiva Linga

A mound is formed inside the 40 m (130 ft) high cave due to the freezing of the water droplets that fall from the roof of the cave onto the floor and grow vertically upward. We can find its mention in the ancient Hindu texts of Mahabharata and Puranas where this ice lingam is said to represent Bhagwan Shiva.  As the snow melts in the Himalayas above the cave during the summer season, the lingam waxes between May to August and the resultant water seeps into the rocks that form the cave leading the lingam to wane gradually. Going by religious beliefs, it is said that the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon, reaching its height during the summer season, although there is no scientific evidence for this belief.  According to Hindu religious beliefs, this is the place where  Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort Mata Parvati.

Discovery of Holy Amarnath Cave

According to Hindu legend, it is believed that a long time ago, the Valley of Kashmir was submerged underwater, and Sage Kashyapa drained it through a series of rivers and streams. When the waters drained out, sage Bhrigu was the first one to have a darshan of Prabhu Shiva at Amarnath. Since then it became an abode of Shiva and a site of an annual pilgrimage, traditionally performed by lakhs of people during the pious Hindu months of Shraavana, July, and August.

 

 

How to reach Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir?

By Train: Udhampur and Jammu are the nearest railheads located at a distance of 219 km and 255 km respectively from Pahalgam and Baltal from where pilgrims trek to the Amarnath caves.
By Air: Srinagar at a distance of 94 km from Pahalgam and 59 km from Baltal is the nearest airport from where cabs or state buses can be hired to reach either Baltal or Pahalgam. It is a trek of approximately 15 km and 36 to 48 km from Baltal and Pahalgam respectively. Pony rides instead of trekking can also be opted.
By Bus: A cab can be hired and the fare starts at Rs 5 per km, depending on the car chosen. The toll fare has to be paid additionally. It takes approximately 24 hours to go from Mumbai to Amarnath by road.

Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir Timings

 4 am to 11 pm (all days of the week)

 

Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir Images

Amarnath Temple, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir on Map

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