Amarnath Yatra - History and Facts

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 10, 2022, 9:23

The Amarnath Yatra is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimages, undertaken by lakhs of pilgrims every year to the holy Amarnath Cave in Kashmir in the month of Shravan (July-August).

The 130 foot high Cave is situated on Amarnath Mountain of the Himalayan region, at an altitude of 3,888 metres (12,756 feet), and many pilgrims trek to the Cave on foot. Amarnath Yatra's history is set in Hindu Mythology, as the Cave is believed to be around 5000 years old. Here is everything you need to know about the Amarnath Yatra history, location, and facts.

Amarnath Yatra History

Amarnath Yatra is a pilgrimage to the Amarnath Cave, which being 5000 years old, is the most ancient cave shrine in the world. According to Hindu mythology, it came into being when Lord Shiva's third eye emitted a fireball, striking a hill and creating a deep chasm, now known as the Amarnath Cave. It finds mention in several religious texts, including the Mahabharata, Puranas, and Aryabhatta's Rajavalipataka.

  • The story behind the name of Amarnath Cave - The Cave has derived its name from this story"Amar" meaning immortal and "Nath" meaning Lord. It signifies the place where Lord Shiva revealed to Goddess Parvati the secret of his immortality, i.e., the "Amar Katha".
  • Discovery of the Cave - The Cave is said to then have been discovered in the 15th century by a Muslim shepherd called Buta Malik. As per the mythical tale, the shepherd once lost track of his herd of sheep and while searching for them, met an old saint. The saint handed him a bag full of charcoal which turned into gold by the time Buta Malik reached home. The next day, he returned to the spot where he met the saint to thank him, but in its place found the Amarnath Cave.
  • What's inside the Amarnath Cave? - The Cave comprises an ice stalagmite that resembles a Shiva Lingam. Water dripping from the roof of the Cave accumulates and freezes to form the ice Lingam, which attains its full-fledged form on the day of Shravan Poornima. The lingam is thus self-manifesting and is called a Swayambhu Lingam. There are two other ice lingams representing Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha.

Amarnath Yatra Facts

  • The Amarnath Yatra is undertaken during the month of Shravan, during a 45-day season, because that is when the Shiva lingam reaches its apex form.
  • The Amarnath Yatra is organised by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature through the enactment of the SASB Act, 2000. They facilitate the registration of pilgrims on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • Pilgrims must be between the ages of 13 and 75 to be eligible to undertake the Yatra. They must also provide a Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC) from an institution authorised by the SASB.
  • There are two routes to Amarnath Cavethe one via Pahalgam is a 43km trek while the Batal route is an 11km trek but quite steep. Alternatively, pilgrims can also use helicopter services, pony rides, or palkis.

Amarnath Yatra's history is sacred in the Hindu religion, making the pilgrimage highly sought after. As a result, the SASB has attempted to improve the experience by facilitating helicopter and batter car services. The Yatra is undertaken by lakhs of pilgrims each year and is a major source of revenue for Kashmir.

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FAQs on Amarnath Yatra

Q.1. What is the significance of the Amarnath Cave and Amarnath Yatra history?

Ans. Amarnath Yatra's history is set in Hindu mythology, according to which it is believed that Lord Shiva revealed the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Goddess Parvati, in the Amarnath Cave.

Q.2. How long does it take to complete the Amarnath Yatra?

Ans. The duration of the trek to Amarnath cave varies from 3-5 days.

Q.3. What are the documents required for Amarnath Yatra?

Ans. Every Applicant-Yatri must submit the prescribed application form, along with CHC and four passport-sized photographs.

Q.4. When will the Amarnath Yatra for 2022 start?

Ans. The 2022 Amarnath Yatra will start on 28th June. Registration commences from 1st April.