The Amarnath Yatra is organised every year by the Jammu & Kashmir. Each year, Hindu devotees make a pilgrimage to the sacred Amarnath Cave, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, near Baltal, Kashmir, India. The Amarnath temple, considered one of the most sacred shrines for Hindus is a popular pilgrimage destination for Hindu devotees. On an average 2,000-3,500 tourists visit the shrine per year. In 2011 it received about 634,000 people, the highest recorded number for the site.
‘The Amarnath Yatra’! Even the name is enough to fill a person with with spirituality and a special kind of joy. This is what every Indian especially HIndu wishes to conduct at least once in his lifetime.
Importance of Amarnath YatraThe specialty of Amarnath is the creation of natural Shivling from the snow in the holy cave. Due to the formation of natural snow, it is also called self-made ‘Himani Shivling’ or ‘Barfani Baba’.
The Shiva-lingam, which is the prime object of spiritual offerings at Amarnath is formed by trickling water falling from a narrow cleft on the cave’s roof. The water freezes as it dripss slowly to form a tall, sharp, smooth conic ice shape— the lingam. It gets its full shape by May after which it begins melting gradually and by August it’s reduced to just a few feet in height.
Legend of Amarnath yatra (Lord Shiva narrated secret of life & eternity to Parvati)
There is an interesting legend associated with Lord Shiva telling the secret of immortality to his divine consort Ma Parvati. The importance of cave shrine of Amarnath is not just because there is the creation of natural Shivlinga from the snow. The significance of this cave is also because here Lord Shiva told the the mantra of immortality to Goddess Parvati.
Lord Shankar asked mother Parvati to listen to Amar Katha in a solitary and secret place, so that no one other than Parvati could hear Amar Katha. This is because if any person, even animals and birds, listen to this Amar Katha, he becomes immortal. So, Lord Shiva narrated Amarkatha in the cave.
The cave was discovered by a Muslim, Buta Malik
The sacred cave was discovered by a kind Muslim, Buta Malik. One day he left his sheeps a long way. Arriving in a jungle, he met a monk. The sage gave him a thor full of coal. When he reached home, he found gold in the place of coal. Buta Malik was very surprised.
At the same time he returned to thank the sadhu, but there he saw a huge cave instead of a monk. From that day onwards, this place became a pilgrimage. Even today, a certain part of the offerings offered by Shiva devotees who visit the yatra goes to the descendants of the Malik family.
Here are a few simple notes for travelers:
1. Do not trek alone. Try to move in groups. Also make sure people moving ahead you and behind you in your sight.
2. Be helpful. Provide help to your fellow yatris.
3. There are Lavatories/urinals installed in the camps and en-route the Amaranth Cave for the use of Yatris.
4. Pilgrims are advised to carry warm clothes and insect repellents.
5. Pilgrims have to follow certain rules & regulations as set by the organizing committee. These rules and regulations are imposed only to ascertain smooth journey.
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