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AMARNATH

Amarnath Shivling Amarnath caves are one of the most famous shrines in Hinduism, dedicated to the god Shiva,located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is claimed to be over 5,000 years old and forms an important part of ancient Hindu mythology.Amarnath is 145 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir and is 46 Km. From Pahalgam. There is an ice Shiva-linga here that changes size with the seasons, and also as the moon waxes and wanes it becomes bigger and smaller. On the full moon day the linga is about 6 ft high. Each year on the full moon day of July-August (Sravana) when the Shiva-linga attains its maximum height there is a festival at this cave temple. It is said that Lord Siva first appeared on this day.
It is located in a glacial valley at 4,175m (13,700 ft.). The cave is about 150 feet high and 90 feet long.According to Hindu mythology, this is the cave where Amarnath CaveShiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort Parvati. Within the cave there are four or five ice formations that resemble the figures of different gods. The biggest figure is regarded as Shiva (Amarnath). On the left side of the linga is an ice formation called Ganesh, and on the right side is one of Parvati and Bhairava.
The area is covered with snow from September to June. The cave opens only in July and August. This is the rainy season, so pilgrims have to brave the rain to get there. About 25,000 people make this pilgrimage each year. You can also hire ponies and dandies for the trip. It is very crowded during the annual Sravana festival. There is a yearly pilgrimage starting from Srinagar that is led by the Chhari Saheb, the holy seepter.

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