Amar Nath Ji Yatra
Amarnath shrine is are one of the most renowned shrines in Hinduism
, and is devoted to the god Shiva. The shrine is claimed to be over 5,000 years old and forms a significant part of old Hindu mythology. Inside the main Amarnath cave is an ice stalagmite which looks like the Shiva Linga, which waxes during May to August and gradually wanes thereafter. This lingam is said to become big and get smaller with the phases of the moon, reaching its height during the summer festival.
Shiva popularly known as Bhole nath is a living god. The most pious and most ancient book of India, the Rig Veda calls to mind his existence in its hymns, Vedic Myths, rituals and even confirm to his presence from the dawn of time.
Legend has it that Shiva told Parvati the secret of creation of this universe in a cave in Amarnath. Not known to them, a pair of doves heard their conversation and having learnt the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their everlasting habitat. Many pilgrims report seeing the doves pair when they go to pay their respect to the ice lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).
The annual yatra to Holy Amarnath Cave, located at 14000 ft. above sea level, is arranged by the State Government during the month of July and August. The wanting pilgrims are permitted to perform darshan from Ashard Purnimashi to Shravan Purnimashi which sprreads over a month or so. With a vision to work out and finalize several arrangements, a sequence of core meetings is held at Srinagar as well as Pahalgam (the base-camp for Amarnath Yatra). Among other matters connected with yatra, a verdict is taken for managing the yatra traffic within the prescribed daily ceiling as per Sen Gupta Report on both Pahalgam and Baltal routes. Concurrently, the J&K Tourist offices situated outside the State, are asked to start advance registration of yatries on first come first serve basis, within a fixed period and thereafter 'current registration' of yatris is done by the Tourist offices within the State which continues till conclusion of yatra. The detailed information with regard to Yatra, including other related issues like Do's and Don'ts, installation of free langers by NGOs is revealed by the Tourism Department in leading national dailies as well as local news papers. However the intending Yatris can have the comprehensive information in the form of printed material at all the Tourism Offices located within and outside the state.
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