One of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimages, Amarnath is worldwide famous for the natural formation of Shiva Linga from the snow. This divine Yatra to the holy cave is opened only in the months of Shravan i.e. July and August as these are the only months when it is quite easy to access the holy cave. This revered pilgrimage of Lord Shiva or Baba Bholenath is perched at an elevation of 3888 meters above the sea level and around 121 km away from the capital city of the state. It is believed to be one of the holiest shrines in India which plays an important part in Hinduism and is also believed that the Lingam fades after the Shravan month with the changes in the phases of the moon.
A very popular legend states that Goddess Parvati demanded from Lord Shiva to reveal the secrets of the precious life and death but he didn’t want anybody to hear this secret. So, they decided to hit for the cave in the mountains as it could be quite difficult to be accessed by any common person and even for the gods also. Lord Shiva wanted to keep the secret between them only so they left all his companions and belongings on the way itself. For example, Nandi which was his ride was left behind at Pahalgam, the moon which was adorned on the top of his head was left at Chandanwadi, the snake which he used to wrap around his neck was left at Shesh Nag, and at last the five basic elements of life which he had carried were left at Panchtarni. They even left his son Lord Ganesha at Mahaguna top and all these left belongings and companions are found by the devotees en route the mountainous trek.
The name of this divine cave is comprised of two segments i.e. Amar which means immortal and Nath which means Lord. The name only suggests that this is the immortal place where Lord Shiva revealed the secret of life and death to his wife Goddess Parvati. The religious significance of Amareshwara or Amarnath can be referred from Rajatarangini. There is a belief that in the 11th century, Queen Suryamathi presented this temple with Trishula, various sacred emblems, and banalingas. There is a piece of very detailed information about the historical accounts of this holy cave in Rajavalipataka which was started by Aryabhatta. There are several other religious texts where religious significance has been mentioned.
Discovery of Amarnath Cave
According to a Hindu belief, this divine cave was found by Buta Malik who was a shepherd. The story goes like this that the shepherd once met with a saint here and that saint sent him a bag full of coal. When he reached home and opened the bag he got surprised because the coal bag had been transformed into the bag filled with gold coins. He wanted to thank that saint and went to the same place where he had met with the shepherd but he couldn’t find him and there was a shrine established at that place. Since then the place has been named as Amarnath shrine.