Amarnath is in news for all the wrong reasons as of now. An LeT attack left 7 Amarnath pilgrims dead in Anantnag and have also rendered 19 people grievously injured. However, the attack has not diminished people’s enthusiasm to meet their snow-made Lord Shiva. People are not discouraged and are ready to face any danger. When did the Amarnath Yatra begin and what is its significance?

Amarnath Yatra is a long and arduous journey to the Amarnath cave situated in Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is situated at a height of 3,888 m in the Himalayas. Every year thousands of pilgrims scale the height to worship the Shiva linga made of ice.

The Mythology
According to mythology, Lord Shiva told the secret of his immortality here. However, an essay in the Wikipedia says completely different story. It is being said that it was Bhrigu Muni who discovered the Amarnath Shrine.

The History
According to folklore, the cave was discovered by a shepherd named Buta Malik, who was a Muslim, in 1850. He had been grazing his cattle in the mountain when a Sufi saint gave him a bag of coal, which turned out to be gold later. He went back to thank the saint but found the cave and the Shiva Linga. According to Indian Express, the descendants of Malik had been the custodian of the shrine. Priests from Dashnami Akhada and Purohit Sabha Mattan had been taken care of the holy site. In 2,000, the Malik family and other organisation were evicted and the Amarnath Shrine Board was formed to look after the affairs of the shrine. It is headed by the governor of the state.

Attacks
25 people had been killed and 36 were injured when militants hurled grenades at Pahalgam base camp on August 1, 2000. 13 people were killed on July 20, 2001 when militants had thrown grenades at a pilgrims’ camp at Sheshnag. 9 people were killed and 30 were injured in Nunwan in an attack on August 6, 2002.