Amarnath temple is one of the 18 Maha Shakti peethas. It is a holy Hindu place where pilgrims travel the hardest path get the darshan of Lord Shiva. Amaranth is a cave which is located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is a cave situated at an altitude of 3888 m, which is about 141 km from Srinagar which is the capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
Most of the year the cave is covered by the snow. Amarnath cave is surrounded by mountains of snow and is open only for a short period of time in a year during summer for pilgrims to visit. Hundreds and thousands of Hindu devotees take up this yatra passing through challenging mountains.
The cave from inside is 40 m high where the Shiva linga resides. The lingam is formed during the period of May to August when the snow above the cave melts and falls down on the floor forming the lingam. However, according to the Hindu beliefs the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon and this is the place where Lord Shiva explained Parvati about the secret of life and eternity.
The yatra starts with the trek of 43 kms mountain from the camps based at Pahalgam. More than 6 lakh pilgrims take this yatra every year to the Amaranth caves situated above 3888 m in the Himalayas.
The journey starts from Srinagar or from Pahalgam on foot which takes almost 5 days. There is also regular transportation provided from Jammu to Pahalgam. There is another northern shorter route which is about 16km long but has a steep gradient and is difficult to climb. Through the northern route, one can see the river Amaravati throughout the way.
Through the trek, many non-profit organisations have arranged for food supply and tents to rest for the pilgrims for free. Helicopter services are also available to the pilgrims from the base camp to Panjtarni.
This place is protected with central armed forces and state police providing security and helping the pilgrims. One needs to be physically fit and healthy to take this trek as the trek is too high elevation and oxygen levels above the Himalayas are very low. Deaths here take place due to lack of physical fitness or road accidents.
The yatra is organised by the government with Shree Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). They provide all the facilities required by the pilgrims from food, water, telecommunication services, tents, power supply, and fair shops along the way of the yatra. The pilgrims visiting this holy place has been constantly increasing in numbers despite the dangerous trek to be taken to reach the Amarnath cave and seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.