Amarnath Yatra

Shri Amarnath Cave Temple

Amarnath Cave temple near Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shivling in the cave is formed by ice and it increases and decreases according to the season. Amarnath cave is a very ancient pilgrimage and is one of the holiest religious sites in India.

Presiding Deities

  • Lord Shiva
  • Mata Parvati

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About Shri Amarnath Cave Temple

Darshan Timings

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Shri Amarnath Cave Temple Puja and Darshan Timings

Amarnath Yatra Date:
Commence on Masik Shivratri (Hindu Calendar)
Conclude on Shravan Purnima (Hindu Calendar)

History and the story of Shri Amarnath Cave Temple

The history of Amarnath cave goes back to the time when Lord Shiva lived on Mount Kailash. The story connected with the cave is most interesting and part of Sanatan Dharma lore.  The tale begins when, one day, Mata Parvati asked why Lord Shiva was immortal and She was not. Lord Shiva replied that to gain immortality one has to hear the tale of immortality (Amarkatha). This Amarkatha was extremely secret  and could only be heard by those entitled to it. Lord Shiva agreed to tell Her the story. To tell the story Lord Shiva needed an isolated place where no one else could overhear it. He set out to look for a suitable spot. Ganeshji, and Nandi were  also with them. Lord Shiva chose the cave that is now known as Amarnath cave to tell the tale. Since only Parvati Mata could go with him, He left Nandi at Pahalgam (Bailgam). Moving on, He left the Moon at Chandanwari and Ganeshji at Mahagunus mountain. Further on He left His snakes at Sheshnag and the five elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky) at Panchtarni. When Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata reached the cave He asked Agni Dev to make sure there were no living creatures in the cave. It is said there were two pigeon eggs that had not yet hatched, so Agni Dev did not touch them. They hatched just as Lord Shiva began to narrate the story and they heard the entire story. They too became immortal as did Mata Parvati. The two pigeons can still be seen and many pilgrims have reported sighting them.

Centuries later the entire area now known as Kashmir Valley was flooded and underwater. Rishi Kashyap drained the water and made it habitable once again. After that Rishi Bhrigu happened to come this way and was the first to discover the cave, which now had a Shivling in it. Soon after, it became a pilgrimage with devotees coming from far and wide. More centuries passed and once again the cave was lost to memory. About one thousand years ago a shepherd named Buta Malik from the local Gadaria community was given a bag of coal by a saint. He went home to find the bag contained gold pieces and not coal. He rushed to thank the saint, but he found no one. Instead he found the Holy Cave with the ice Shivling. The news spread and the cave was once again a pilgrimage. The earliest written record can be found in ‘Rajtarangini’ where the cave is called Amareshwar. It mentions Queen Suryamati gifted gold Trishuls and other items to this shrine in the 11th century CE. There are mentions in other texts too. In later years it has been written about by European travellers as far back as 1665 CE.

The Amarnath Yatra takes place once a year in July/ August. As per the lunar months the time is between Guru Purnima and Shravan Purnima. The arduous five day trek to the cave and back starts from Pahalgam. Enroute pilgrims make night halts at Sheshnag and Panchtarni. There is a shorter route from Srinagar via Baltal, but it has very steep inclines. Most devotees prefer the Pahalgam route. A majority of the devotees walk, but palanquins and horses are available for those who cannot. The Amarnath Yatra and darshan of the Shivling there is a highly satisfying and spiritual experience for devotees.

Importance of Shri Amarnath Cave Temple  

Shri Amarnath Cave temple is one of the holiest religious destinations in India, in spite of having to make a difficult trek to reach it. This is where Lord Shiva narrated the most secret story of immortality to Parvati Mata. The Shivling here is a Swayambhu (Self Appeared) and  Rishi Bhrigu had the good fortune of being the first to witness the Shivling.

Best time to visit Shri Amarnath Cave Temple 

Amarnath can be visited from June to September.

How to reach Amarnath (Pahalgam)

The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi railway station which is well connected to major cities in India and is about 256 km from Pahalgam.

The nearest airport is Srinagar Airport and is 90 km from Pahalgam.

Puja in Shri Amarnath Cave Temple

Pandit Ji in Shri Amarnath Cave Temple

Nearby Attractions

  • Vaishno Devi Temple
  • Srinagar
  • Gulmarg
  • Ladakh
  • Shiv Khori Temple

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