Amarnath temple is accessible only during a short period of a year, usually in the months of July and August. At that time, inside the amarnath temple cave, a pure white ice-lingam comes into being.
Water trickles, somewhat mysteriously, in slow rhythm, from the top of the cave and freezes into ice. It first forms a solid base and then on it a lingam begins to rise, almost imperceptibly, and acquires full form on Purnima. It is believed that on that day, Lord Shiva revealed the secrets of life to his consort Parvati, the beautiful daughter of the Himalayas.
The amarnath Yatra, in its present religious form, commences with the ceremony of 'Chari Mubarak,' at the Dashnami temple, Akhara, Srinagar. After the prayers, the yatri acquires a sort of walking stick. It has both physical and religious significance; physically, it helps the yatri in steadying himself on a snowy and slippery path; and, spiritually, it reminds him of his resolve at amarnath temple if and when his faith begins to waver in the face of a long and arduous journey.
After the ceremony, the yatris proceed in groups to Pahalgam, from where a small road leads to Chandanwari, along thick and green woodlands of breathtaking beauty, perched on pretty rocks and little hills, with the playful stream of Lidder meandering and dancing in-between, showing its white-foam sparkle with the pride and purity of a maiden descending directly from the lap of the perennial Himalayas.
From Chandanwari, there begins a steep ascent to Pishu Ghati (3,171 meters), reminding the yatris that the path to salvation involves superhuman struggle and stamina. A feeling of having been lifted to a heavenly spot dawns upon the yatris when they reach Seshnag (3,570 meters)so striking is the beauty, the setting and the color of this great lake.
Seshnag symbolizes the cosmic ocean in which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of this universe, moves, reclining on a seven-headed mythical snake. After getting refreshed with the bath of ice-cold water of Seshnag, the yatri takes a steep climb to the most difficult spot.
Mahagunna (4,350 meters). Thereafter, a short descent begins to Poshpathan festooned with wild flowers. From there, the yatris move to Panchtarni, a confluence of five mythical streams, and then to the cave. A strange sense of fulfillment seizes the yatris, and all fatigue is forgotten. Even in the temperature touching zero degrees Celsius, the yatris are driven by their faith to take bath in the almost freezing rivulet of Amravati.
The holy shrine of Amarnath is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites is situated 145 km from Srinagar, the capital of the North Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.Amarnath is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites .
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