Amarnath Yatra: The divine journey

Amarnath, situated at 3888 m, 142 kilometres from Srinagar, is a very famous holy cave attracting many Indians, especially Hindus and people from the overseas who are in awe of the powerful and mighty Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva is ever present there in the form of a Lingam. Even in the extremes of the climate, dedicated devotees of Lord Shiva go there to get a glimpse of the eternal Lingam. Amaranth Yatra schedule is given out by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) every year.

History and significance of Amarnath Yatra

The story behind the Amarnath Caves is present in the books of Hindu Mythology.

Goddess Parvati, once, requested Lord Shiva to reveal to her the reason for immortality. Lord Shiva at first did not pay attention to her request but later on when she started persuading him constantly, he decided to finally reveal the secret behind immortality (Amarkatha). He decided to take her to a remote place at the Himalayas where no one could here them. They then set off for the journey to the remote place. On the way, Lord Shiva left the moon at Chandanwari, which was placed at the top of his cascades (Jatayen), snakes at the Sheshnag Peak, Lord Ganesha at Mahagunas Hill and parted with Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky at Panjtarni.

Amarnath Yatra Quick Facts

State Jammu and Kashmir
Location At the head of Sind Valley, at an altitude of 12,724 feet above sea level north of Anantnag
Distances Jammu : 340 Kms, Srinagar via Pahalgam 145 Kms, Srinagar via Baltal 115 Kms
Duration of Yatra 2 to 6 days
Routes From Pahalgam: Chandanwari – Pissu top – Seshnag – Panchtarni – Amarnath,  34 Kms.From Baltal: Domali – Marg – Sangam Ghati – Amarnath, 15 Kms

He crossed the cave at sat there for meditation after forming fire all around him so that no form of life can approach him. However, there were two pigeon eggs placed there. He sat there covering the eggs with the deer skin he wore. At that place, he then narrated the Amarkatha which was overheard by the two pigeons in the eggs and Goddess Parvati. Till today a pair of pigeons can be seen at the same place. They are believed to be enlightened with the story of immortality. As this Amarkatha was narrated by Lord Shiva inside the cave this place is called Amarnath.

As this place holds the secret of immortality, this place is very significant for Hindus. Attainment of Moksha (salvation) after death is considered to be ultimate by Hindus hence Shri Amarnath is one of the most important pilgrimage destination.

Modes of reaching Amarnath

  • By Road– Buses and taxis are the modes of transportation for reaching Amarnath as Jammu and Srinagar have a good connectivity to Amarnath through road transport. Tours and travel companies are found in abundance for providing transport facilities.
  • By Rail– Train can be boarded from Jammu which is the nearest station to Amarnath. Many express trains run from various cities to Jammu as there are many temples located here and Jammu makes up a good tourist destination.
  • By Air– A flight can be taken till Srinagar and from there a bus or taxi could be hired to reach Amarnath. Srinagar has a good connectivity of flights from Jammu and New Delhi. Also from Chandigarh and Leh on a few weekdays certain flights fly till Srinagar.
Content updated in January 2020

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