Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cave Temple of Lord Amarnath (Lord Shiva)

Lord Amarnath - ice Shiva Linga

This is a photo of Lord Amarnath taken by Mr. Gangadhar Tambe, during his pilgrimage to Lord Amarnath (Deutsch: Foto der Eissäule von Amarnath - Autor: Gangadhar Tambe, auf einer Pilgerreise nach Amarnath aufgenommen).

Cave Temple of Lord Amarnath

This is the opening of the Cave Temple of Lord Amarnath (Deutsch: Die heilige Höhle von Amarnath im Norden Indiens).

The Amarnath cave shrine, dedicated to the Lord Shiva is over 5,000 years old according to ancient scriptures and other historical documents, and it is described in ancient Hindu mythology. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,760 feet), at a distance of about 141 km (88 miles) from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Inside the main Amarnath cave there is an ice stalagmite resembling Shiva Linga, which melts during May to August and gradually wanes thereafter. This Lingam is said to grow and shrink with the phases of the moon, reaching its full height during the summer festival. There are two more ice formations representing Parvati and Shiva's son, Ganesha.

Devotees generally take the 42 km (26 miles) pilgrimage on foot from the town of Pahalgam, about 96 km (60 miles) from Srinagar, and complete the journey in four to five days. There are two routes to the temple - the longer and traditional path from Srinagar, and the shorter route from the town of Baltal. Some devotees ride on horseback also to complete the journey.

This year, as reported by agencies, the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine continued smoothly on Friday as Governor N.N. Vohra and about 6,000 pilgrims offered prayers there. Governor Vohra, who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), also interacted with the pilgrims there and later at the Baltal base camp.

The pilgrims expressed satisfaction at the arrangements made by the SASB and the state administration for their safe pilgrimage. The governor also visited Panchtarni on the Pahalgam route in south Kashmir to the cave shrine and took stock of snow clearance there.

The traditional south Kashmir route is yet to open as heavy snow still blocks the 34 km track from the Pahalgam base camp to the cave.

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