amarnath yatra Also Read - BFI Nominates 5 Boxers And three coaches For The National Sports Awards 2020

Amarnath Yatra, one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimages in the country takes place in the month of July-August. Thousands of pilgrims trek to the Amarnath Caves to seek blessings of Shiva. This arduous trek is nothing short of an experience of a lifetime as you are challenged physically to survive extreme conditions. On reaching here, pilgrims pray to the ice sculpture of the linga inside the cave. But did you know the significance of this pilgrimage and the story of Amarnath Caves? Here’s what legends say. Also Read - India-China Ladakh Standoff: 'Situation Stable And Controllable, All Channels Open For Talks,' Says Beijing

According to Rigveda, Shiva is the protector and destroyer. He is also immortal. The story so goes that his consort Goddess Parvati wanted to know the secret of immortality and she persisted  Shiva to divulge the secrets. After much persuading, he agreed to tell her the secrets but only in a place where no one could hear the story. This was because anyone who heard the story called the Amar Katha would become immortal too. In order to find a safe place, the two went to Amarnath Caves. Before reaching the caves, Shiva left his bull named Nandi at Pahalgam, the moon in his hair at Chandanwari, the snakes at Lake Sheshnag and their son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat. The five elements that make up the earth were left at Panjtarni. Also Read - Style Tips to Wear Mom Jeans: How to Look Cool Wearing 'Unhip' Denim at Any Occasion

ALSO SEE How to reach Pahalgam

amarnath caves

Two two then entered the Amarnath Caves where Shiva began telling Goddess Parvati the Amar Katha before creating a fire around the caves that destroyed any living thing. The two thought that they were alone in the cave but Shiva did not realize that there was an egg under his deer skin that wasn’t destroyed. Two pigeons were born from it who heard the entire story of immortality and are alive even today. Pilgrims who visit the caves have often spotted these pigeons.

The caves lay undiscovered for years and were later found by a shepherd. A saint gave him a bag with coal in it but when he went home and opened the bag, he found it filled with gold coins. He went back to the same spot to find the saint and discovered the ice linga at that same spot. He went and told the villagers about it and showed them the path of reaching the caves. This is how the Amarnath Yatra came into being. Even today, the descendants of his family get a part of the temple offerings and they perfom an aarti in the evening.

The Amarnath Yatra is not an easy feat and takes much physical fitness if you plan to trek your way to the caves. However, there are also helicopter darshan and ponies available to take to these caves. Hindu pilgrims come here to worship the ice linga of Shiva and two others of Ganesha and Parvati.

Photographs: Shutterstock

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