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Special Report
Amarnath Yatra,The Legend
04 July 2015
04/July/2015 (ITNN)>>>> Shri Amarnath Ji is by far the most awesome Dham. The Guardian of the absolute,Lord shiva is enshrined in form of an ice Lingam in Shri Amarnath ji Holy cave which is formed naturally of an ice Stalagmite; it is believed to wax and wane with the moon. By the side are fascinating two more lingams: Maa Parvati and Ganesha.

Reference of the Lingam is found in the Purana,there is popular belief that Shri Amarnath ji Holy cave was rediscovered by one shepherd Baba Malik, when he lost his flock and found that it had strayed into the sacred spot some 150 years ago. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave on challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalagmite formed inside the cave.

Inside the 40 m (130 ft) high Amarnath cave, the stalagmite is formed due to freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave on to the floor and grows up vertically from the cave floor. It is considered to be a Shiva Linga by Hindus. The Cave waxes during May to August,as snow melts in the Himalayas above the cave and the resultant water seeps into the rocks that form the cave and gradually wanes thereafter. According to a Hindu legend, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Parvati.

Story behind Amarnathji
The story begins from the quest of Goddess Parvati when she asks her husband Lord Shiva to tell her why he wore a Maala with Munds (Mund Maala - bead of heads). Lord Shiva replies that every time she (Parvati) is born, he adds a head to the Maala he is wearing. Parvati enquires, “My Lord, my body is destroyed every time  and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this.

Lord Shiva replies that he is immortal due to Amar Katha and whoever knows that Katha becomes Immortal. When Goddess Parvati insists on knowing the story then Lord Shiva explains to her that this story is a secret and no one knows this and even Gods do not know about this story and hence, when their virtues are over,they have to leave their position and take rebirth to gain virtues. It is only the Tridevs (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) that know this sacred story and are immortal.

But when Parvati insists more vehemently, Lord Shiva assures her of telling the Amar Katha sometime. But the goddess does not let go and on her persistent demand to know the secret of Immortality, Lord Shiva selects a hidden place (Amarnath Cave) where no living being could listen to this secret story. On way to Amarnath Cave, Lord Shiva leaves Nandi, The Bull, at Pahalgam (Bail Gaon). At Chandanwari, he releases the Moon from his hair (Jataon).

On the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he releases his snakes. At Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Mountain), he leaves his son, Lord Ganesha. At Panjtarni, Lord Shiva leaves behind the five elements-  Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky. As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world, Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Dance. Then, finally, Lord Shiva entered the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati. Lord Shiva then took his Samadhi on the Deer Skin.

Lord Shiva started telling the story to Mata Parvati but she sleeps in between as the story was very long and she was tired of the journey. Meanwhile,two white pigeons were listening to the story and were making cooing sound which made Shiva feel that Mata Parvati is still listening to the story and he continued telling it. In this way, both the Pigeons heard the story of being immortal.

After ending the story, when Lord Shiva saw that Parvati was sleeping, He wondered who was making the cooing sounds when he was narrating the story. He then discovered the two pigeons and became angry and tried to kill them but the pigeons said that if you will kill us then the legend of this story shall exist no more.

Then Lord Shiva left them alive and blessed that they will reside at this place as a symbol of Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati. It is said that even today the devotees often see a pair of pigeons here. This year the Yatra to the Holy Cave of Amarnathji, commenced on 2nd July from both Baltal and the Pahalgam routes. pilgrims leave for Amarnath shrine in batches.