History of Amarnath

History of Amarnath

The Amarnath cave is a place of worship since times immemorial. There are references to one Aryaraja (32BCE-17CE) who used to worship a lingam formed of ice in Kashmir. The book Rajatarangini (Book VII v.183) refers to Amareshwara or Amarnath. It is believed that Queen Suryamathi in the 11th century AD gifted trishuls, banalingas and other sacred emblems to this temple. Rajavalipataka, begun by Prjayabhatta has detailed references to the pilgrimage to Amarnath Cave. Other than this, there are further references to this pilgrimage in many other ancient texts.

Discovery of Holy Cave

It is believed that after the Middle Ages, this cave was forgotten by people and it was once again discovered by a shepherd in the 15th century. However, there are many stories about the discovery of this cave. One story states that once a Gujjar (Shepherd) named Buta Malik was given a bag full of coal by a holy man. When he reached home, he found that the bag contained not coal, but gold coins. Overjoyed he ran back to the place where the he had met the Holy man. However the holy man had disappeared and Buta Malik instead discovered the cave and the Lingam.

The Yatra of Amarnath is popular pilgrimage site for Hindus from the old days which is reported to be around 5000 years old. About 400,000 faithful devotees make their Yatra to Amarnath every year during the festival of Shravan Mela in June to August.There are several mythological stories related to Amarnath Yatra. According to one of the mythological tales of Amarnath, it is here in the cave of Amarnath Lord Shiva revealed the secrets of immortality to his wife Parvati and therefore that place was named Amreshwar and has become the a sanctuary of Hindu community. Amarnath Yatra attracted the tourists mainly for the Darshan of ice Shiva Linga along with two other ice formations representing Shri Ganesh and Mata Parvati.