is considered to be one of the major Hindu Dhams. The holy cave is
located at a height of 3,888 m and is the abode of the holy trinity,
Lord Shiva. The guardian of the absolute, Lord Shiva, the destroyer, is
enshrined in the form of an ice-lingam in this cave located at farther
end of the Lidder Valley. This lingam is formed naturally of an ice
stalagmite which wakes up and wanes with the moon.
Myths & Beliefs
Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in a cave in
Amarnath. Unknow to them, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this
conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again,
and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing
the doves-pair when they trek the ardous route to pay obeisance before
the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).
Legend of Amarnath Yatra
The origin of Amarnath Yatra dates back to the year 1850 A.D, when a
Muslim shepherd from Batakot, named Buta Malik first discovered the cave
in which lay enshrined the naturally formed Shivling (a Shivaite
Fertility Symbol) made of ice. According to tale, Buta Malik was given a
sack of coal by a Sadhu. Upon reaching his home he discovered that the
sack, in fact, contained gold. Overjoyed and overcome, Buta Malik rushed
back to look for the Sadhu and thank him, but on the spot of their
meeting discovered the cave and eventually this became a place of
pilgrimage for all believers.
So pleased was the Dogra king Maharaja Gulab Singh by this discovery
that he decreed that a representative of the Malik family would always
be present at the holy shrine, alongwith the Mahant (Hindu priest) and
Pundits of Ganeshpora, during the period of the pilgrimage each year.
Also the family of the muslim shepherd was granted a large estate near
Pahalgam and exempted from paying land revenue to the state. Further one
third of all the offerings made at the shrine each year are to be given
to the Malik family as reward.