A Hindu pilgrim worships in front of an ice stalagmite, which is representative of a Shiva Lingam, or the god Shiva. It is one of the most revered of Hindu shrines. Thousands of Hindu devotees, braving sub-zero temperatures, come to pay their respects at the cave.
The cave, enveloped by the rugged Himalayan mountains, itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. The stalagmite, or Shiva Linga, is formed due to freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave on to the floor and grows up vertically from the cave floor.
Srinagar: The summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar is a beautiful town situated in the Kashmir Valley. The picturesque Dal Lake, the scenic Mughal gardens and the the Shankaracharya Temple are some of the attractions of Srinagar town.
Baltal: Located just 14 Km from the holy Amarnath Cave Baltal is at an altitude of 3000 m. Pilgrims can travel from Baltal to the Amarnath Cave and back on the same day. This route to Amarnath is a steeper and narrower route, and pilgrims have to walk cautiously while crossing ice bridges across mountain streams. Pilgrims leave Baltal and travel past the rest stops of Domail and Barari to arrive at the Sangam of the Panchtarni and Amravati rivers. After a ritual dip they can proceed to the holy cave.
Amarnath: The sacred cave at Amarnath is located 3 km from the Sangam. Pilgrims can have a ritual dip on the way at the Sangam of the Panchtarni and Amravati rivers, anoint their bodies with the white soil called Bhasam found near the cave and then enter the cave for the Darshan of the ice pillars worshipped as Lord Shiva, Ma Parvati and Sri Ganesh. After praying at the holy Amarnath Cave pilgrims can return to Baltal and stay overnight before beginning their return journey.
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