- The shrine at a height of about 4,000 m, the cave has four ice formations, considered symbolic of different Hindu gods
- The lingam increases and decreases with the phases of the moon
- Apart from the sacred ambience, Mahagunas Mountains are famous for several waterfalls and a picturesque view
The 150 feet high and 90 feet long cave of Amarnath in South Kashmir Himalayas is certainly one of the most mystical shrines of Lord Shiva. Situated in a Himalayan glacial valley at a height of about 4,000 metres, the cave has four ice formations and has symbolic significance of numerous Hindu Gods.
The biggest formation is that of Lord Shankar. On the left side of the lingam, there is a figure of Ganesha. The other two formations on the right side of the biggest ice formation represent Parvati and Bhairava.
According to legends, the lingam increases and decreases with the phases of the moon, reaching the height of more than 6 feet on the full moon day of Shravan, which also happens to be Rakshabandhan (a Hindu festival, which celebrates brother-sister bond). It is believed that Lord Shiva first appeared in the cave on this very day.
The significance of this holy cave is related to the secret of immortality as was told by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati.
However, apart from this fascinating tale, it is said that Lord Shankar on his journey to the cave did a few things that made the path to the holy cave blissful.
Apparently, before revealing the Amar Katha (the secret of immortality), Lord Shiva left his son, his vehicle and the moon from his head-here among others in some isolated places.
Here are the things as listed by Speaking Tree, that Lord Shiva did before reciting Amar Katha to Parvati:
Lord Shankar first left his vehicle ‘nandi’ on his way to Amarnath cave. The place is called Pahalgam and is located 96 kilometres from Srinagar.
The next thing he did was to leave the moon from his head and hence the name Chandanbadi. Also known as Chandramauli, it is 16 kilometres from Pahalgam.
The next stop is Pissu Top. The story behind it is that there was a huge fight between the gods and demons for the darshan of Lord Amaranth. While the demons were defeated by the help of Lord Shiva, a mountain was formed from the dead bodies of the demons known as Pissu Top.
Twelve kilometres from Chandanbadi comes the next destination- Sheshnag. It is said that Lord Shiva left his snake from the neck here. It has a lake of blue water running here, crediting that Sheshnag still resides here.
Next comes, Mahagunas Mountains, 4-5 kilometres from Sheshnag. Nestled at the height of 14,000 feet, it is the place where Lord Shiva left his beloved son Ganesha. Apart from the sacred ambience, the place is also famous for several waterfalls and a picturesque view.
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Six kilometres from Mahagunas Mountains is Panchatrani, which is also the last stop before the sacred cave. According to the holy tale, Lord Shiva sacrificed the five elements (space, air, water, fire and earth) here.
At an altitude of 12,500 feet, it is the confluence of five rivers. It is said that the rivers flowing here have a source in the tangles of Lord Shankar’s hair.
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