Amarnath
Amarnath
Shiva exist in the form of the 5 elements in 5 temples in south india.  But in the north he exist as the Ice Lingam in a remote area in a cave at Amarnath. The journey covers a distance of about 50km from Pahalgam to the Holy cave which is at a height of about 14000ft above sea level –  a challenging trek through cold weather sometimes icy winds and rain and tedious climb over mountains -Pissu top, Sheshnag and Panchatarni.
At the entrance of the holy cave the soil is white-like Bhasma-which represents the sacred ashes of Lord Shiva.
One has to overcome many hinderances to have the holy darshan of Lord Shiva in his holy cave
 The Legend of the Cave is fascinating and one then tends to think why Lord Shiva choose such a remote place:
This is The Cave which was chosen by Lord Shankara  for narrating the secrets of immortality and creation of Universe  to Goddess Parvathi.   The story about this cave and its unique importance begins so- Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked Lord Shiva  to  let her know why and when  He  started wearing the beads of heads ( Mund Mala)  .   He replied that every time Goddess Parvathi reincarnated and died-Lord Shiva symbolically, added one more skull head to his Mala .  Curious to know the reason whyMaa Parvati alone reincarnated every time and Lord Shiva stayed immortal-She requested him to disclose the secrets of immortality-“Amar Katha”.
Lord Shiva was first reluctant and so he postponed the time-but this made Maa Parvathi even more curious-and at a point when Lord Shiva could not persuade her anymore-he searched for the apt place to disclose the secret to her. continued postponing .   Finally on consistent demand from Maa Parvati He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret .  It was then he choose the Amarnath Cave .  In preparation to that He left His Nandi ( The Bull which He used to ride )  at Pahalgam (Bail gaon) .  At Chandanwari He released Moon from his hairs (Jataon). At the banks of Lake Sheshnag He released the snakes .  He decided to leave his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill ) . At Panjtarni, Shivji  left the Five Elements behind (Earth , Water, Air , Fire and Sky)  and proceeded into the cave alone with Goddess Parvathi after performing the Tandav Dance-which is the symbol of sacrificing the earthly world. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and entered into meditation. To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale , He created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him  to spread fire to eliminate every living  thing in and around the Holy Cave . After this He started narrating  the secret of immortality to Maa Parvati . But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the  Deer skin remained protected . It is believed to be non living and more over it was protected by Shiva -Parvati Asan (Bed) .  The pair of pigeons which were born out of this  egg became immortal  having listened the secret  of immortality (Amar Katha).
Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of pigeons  when they trek the arduous route to pay their obeisance before the Ice-Lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).
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