Amarnath yatra is a journey done by lakhs of Hindus in a year. What is there in this place called amaranth. Lets find out,,,,
In Amarnath there is a cave, which is surrounded by snowy mountains. The cave is covered by snow all throughout the year except for some days in between July-August. This is the time for shravani mela and holy month of shravan.
The Shiva Linga:
The cave is about 130 ft in height. Inside the cave a stalagmite is formed because the water drops coming from the roof of the cave freez. This stalagmite grows vertically from the surface of the cave and take a shape of Shiva Linga, This is known as holy Amarnath Shiva Linga.
Story behind Amarnath Legend:
It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva explained secrets about life and eternity, to his wife Parvati. Once Parvati questioned Lord Shiva that why is it so, that you are Immortal and I have to take new birth every time and worship very hard to marry you.
Lord Shiva decided to answer this, as curiosity of Parvati was very high. In order to do this he wanted a secret place where nobody else could listen to that.
Stops in Journey:
So Shiva started his journey towards this cave and left his follower Nandi in a place which is known as pahalgam . Amarnath yatra starts from Pahalgam only. Then after walking some distance Shiva removed his moon from his hairs, this place is known as Chandanwadi. After that left River Ganga at Panjtarani and snakes at Lake Sheshnaag. After that the place where he left Ganesh is known as Mahaguna Parvat and where Shiva left an insect named Pissu is known as Pissu Ghati. At panjtarani Shiva left the five elements of life Water, earth, air, sky and fire.
All these stoppages are there in the complete Amarnath journey.
After leaving every one Lord Shiva and Parvati entered the cave and for ensuring privacy Lord shiva lighted a heavy fire around the caves.
After that Lord Shiva started narrating a story about secrets Life and eternity. One interesting thing happened, in between the story Mata Parvati fall asleep. But a couple of parrots was listening to the story and were also making their usual noise. Lord Shiva was so busy narrating the story that he didn’t noticed that Parvati was sleeping and pigeons were listening to the story.
When Shiva completed the story he became very angry by knowing that pigeons have listened to the secrets of getting Immortal. But Pigeons apologized for the same and asked forgiveness. Then Shiva praised them with an order to reside there in the cave until the end of the universe.
These two pigeons are seen in the cave by the tourists.
In 2011 6,34,000 people completed this journey. The journey starts from pahalgam in July, all the arrangement of comfort are made by the J&K Govt. The best time for journey is in between Guru Purnima and Shravan Purnima. Around 48 days are kept for devotees to do this yatra. Journey is marked by the first orship of Lord Shiva known as Pratham Pujan.
There are pandals offering shelter and food to pilgrims for free and helicopter services from base camp to panjtarani (which is 6 kms from the cave).
J&K Govt. organises the yatra in association with Shree Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). One can contact the Shrine board if willing to visit this holy place.
SASB Website URL – www.shriamarnathjishrine.com