What is the Amarnath Yatra?

Main photo “Breathtaking scenery on way to Amarnath Cave’, Credit: Hardik Buddhabhatti

This year’s Amarnath Yatra commenced on 29 June and will be open for 40 days until 7 August. Despite the high altitude, extremely treacherous terrain and the increased incidences and threats of terrorist attacks in recent years, the yatra (meaning journey) remains one of the most significant and popular for Shiva devotees.

But what is the yatra all about and why is it considered so important? Here’s a brief explanation.

The Route from Jammu to Amarnath

  • JAMMU: City in Jammu and Kashmir state of India, accessibly by air, rail and road
  • PAHALGAM: 315km from Jammu in a valley through which the Lidder and Aru rivers flow
  • CHANDANWARI: 16km from Pahalgam, along the Lidder river
  • PISSU TOP: the mountain believed in legend to be formed by the dead bodies of the asuras killed by the devas in the battle to reach Shiva first
  • SHESHNAG: Surrounded by 7 peaks (believed to represent the heads of the mythical snake, Shesha), the Sheshnag mountain and lake are breathtakingly beautiful (image above)
  • PANCHTARNI: Reached after a steep ~5km climb. 5 rivers flow at the foot of Bhairav Mount which are believed to have flowed from Shiva’s locks
  • AMARNATH CAVE: The rivers Amravati and Panchtarni meet on the way to the cave believed to be the above of Shiva. In addition to the main ice Shivalinga, the cave contains two smaller ice lingas believed to represent Parvati and Ganesha.
see also: 7 amazing shiva chants/songs
see also: shiva, the grand master of yoga

For more information visit shriamarnathjishrine.com

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