A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Amarnath Yatra

The Amarnath Caves
Amarnath yatra is one of the most arduous and sacred pilgrimage shrines for the devoted Hindus. The cave is situated at a height of close to 13,000 ft, which has a stalagmite in the form of a shiva-linga, which waxes and wanes with the waxing and waning of the  moon during the month of Shravan month of the Hindu calendar, which coincides with the months of July-August. The caves are closed all round the year, except during this period, when devotees brave the dangerously harsh temperatures, slippery paths and bad weather. This year the caves are open from June 25 to August 2nd.

What is it about the place? First the legend.

Once, Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva the reason for his immortality. While she had been taking different births, he remained the same. Shiva avoided the discourse till he could, but then Parvati would not give up. At last Shiva decided to tell her the mystery, but wanted to ensure that none other than she should hear it.

Shiva identified a cave in the mountains and as part of the preparations for the secret discourse; he left his vahana, the Nandi Bull at Pahalgam (Bail gaon). He left the moon from his hair at a place called the Chandanwari and his snakes at the Lake Sheshnag. He left Lord Ganesha at Mahaguna Parvat and the five elements of life at Panjitarini. (All these are present day sites of reverence and part of the Amarnath yatra). Once inside the cave, Shiva opened his third eye, from which he created a ball of fire which destroyed all living being around the area, leaving the two, Shiva and Parvati all alone for the Amar Katha (immortal discourse). Shiva then sat on his deer skin and related the entire mystery.

It was in this cave of Amarnath, where the discourse was supposed to have taken place.

From here there are different versions of the legend. We will go through them briefly.

One version says that under the deer skin was an un-hatched egg of a pigeon. In the course of the discourse, the egg hatched and out came a pair of pigeons. Since they had heard the discourse, then have become immortal and pilgrims say that even today, a pair of pigeons are found flying around during this season of pilgrimage.

Another version says that from the egg came out a parrot. Shiva had told Parvati that she should continuously acknowledge, by saying “Hm”, during the discourse as he would be in his yogic trance. When the egg hatched and the first thing the parrot learnt was the “Hm” uttered by Parvati. In due course of the discourse, Parvati had fallen asleep and it was the parrot who had kept acknowledging during the entire discourse. When Shiva came to know about it, he was angry and sent his trident to kill the parrot. The parrot flew away from the chasing trident and entered into the mouth of a yawning wife of Sage Vasishta. The parrot entered into the womb of the wife, but did not want to come out as he had known all the mysteries of life and did not want to enter the world of Maya, illusions. Later with the intervention of Lord Vishnu, a child was born the sage’s wife, who became famous by the same of Sage Shuka (Shuka is parrot in Sanskrit).

Shiva also ordained that anybody who visits the Amaranath caves during this auspicious period will be released from the cycle of birth and death.

Ice Shiva-lingam
There is an interesting myth with the discovery of the caves. Once a shepherd, by the name of Buta Malik was given a sack of coal by a saint. When he opened it at home, he found it full of gold coins. The grateful shepherd went back to the spot to thank the saint, but found the caves. Since then the caves have become an important place of pilgrimage. Yet another version says that in those days, Kashmir was nothing but a huge lake. Rishi Kashyap drained the waters of the lake into rivers and rivulets and later Rishi Bhrigu visited the Himalayas to discover the cave along with the shiva-linga. The previous one gives the place secular credentials, where a Hindu shrine is discovered by a Muslim, though many say that Buta Malik was from Gujjar community.

Though the Amarnath yatra has had its share of controversies due to the impact on national security as well as the environment due to rampant pollution, the yatra has its picturesque moments, besides spiritual and divine moments. For the believer, it is a quest of immortality and for the adventurous it is the thrill of the tough terrain; in both the cases it draws lakhs of devotees every year.

After all, both the believers as well as the adventurous are ‘seeking’!


  1. Thank you for sharing this.Amarnath is the of the famous hindu pilgrimage dedicated to lord shiva.The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains & is cover with amarnath read more.....