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Amarnath Yatra Importance - Why Do Hindus Perform Amarnath Yatra?

The annual Amarnath Yatra to the renowned cave shrine in Jammu and Kashmir attracts thousands of people. The yatra is one of the important pilgrimage for many Hindus and is of great spiritual importance. Hindus perform the Amarnath yatra to offer prayers and have darshan of the naturally formed ice shivling. The natural ‘ice lingam’ is formed by the ice droplets from the rooftop of the vast cave.

Shiva in the Amarnath Cave is popularly known as Baba Barfani.

 Why Do Hindus Perform Amarnath Yatra?

  • To have darshan of the naturally formed ice Shivling.
  • Shiva revealed the secret of immortality (Amar) to Goddess Parvati in the cave.
  • As per Hindu scriptures darshan of Amarnath is equal to ten times the darshan at Kashi; 100 times of that of Prayag and 1000 times that of visiting Naimisharnya.
  • Apart from the naturally formed Ice Shivling, there is also a naturally formed Ganesh Peetah and Parvati Peetah in the cave.

When is it observed?

Amarnath Yatra begins on the Jyeshta Purnima day (June) (mostly on the last week of June or the first week of July and ends on the Raksha Bandan day (Shravan Purnima) (August).

Participating in the Yatra

  • The yatra is conducted by the Amarnath Shrine Board and a devotee needs to register to participate in the pilgrimage.
  • The registration process begin in the first week of March.
  • There is a compulsory medical test which needs to be taken.
  • All forms are available for download on the official website of Amarnath Shrine Board

Route

The cave shrine can be accessed from Baltal and the traditional Pahalgam route. The Baltal route is shorter but the climb is steep. The traditional Pahalgam route passes through Sheeshnag and Panchtarni – both are important mythological places.

There are helicopter services from Baltal and Srinagar. Tents, huts and toilets will be set up at the base camp for devotees by the shrine board.

Charri Mubarak Yatra to the Amarnath Cave Shrine

  • The original pilgrimage follows the Charri Mubarak or holy mace of Shiva carried by the Mahant of Dashnami Akhara. 
  • The preparation for one-month long journey to the Amarnath cave along with Chhari Mubarak begins with Bhoomi Pujan and Dhawajarohan ceremonies at Pahalgam on Vyas Purnima day. 
  • The procession to the cave shrine will begin on Nag Panchami day (fifth day of the waxing phase of Shravan month) after performing the Chhari Pujan at Dashnami Akhara in Srinagar.
  • The procession starts from Dashnami Akhara and reaches the shrine on the Shravan Poornima day.
  • Legend has it that the Charri Mubarak was presented to Sage Bringesh or Hingish by Lord Shiva. 
  • The details of Amarnath Yatra and how to undertake the pilgrimage is only found in the Hingish Samhita or Bringesh Samhita written by Sage Bringesh.
  • The holy mace after visiting numerous temples and sacred places will reach the Amarnath Cave Shrine on the Shravan Purnima day and this will mark the end of the annual pilgrimage season.

A Pair of White Pigeons

When Lord Shiva was explaining the secret of creation and immortality to his consort Goddess Parvati at the Amarnath Cave, a pair of white pigeons were mating in the cave and they overheard the teachings and attained immortality. It is said that the two pigeons are ever present in the cave.