On the third day, we planned our visit to Amarnath Dham. Since my friend, Ritesh (who dropped us to the hotel), wanted us to go to his house, we decided to visit the Amarnath Dham along with his family. As such, the four of us left at 7am in the morning. Since Ritesh had a four-wheeler, we drove in his car.
Ritesh knew the route well and with his skilled driving, we reached the venue in an hour. Amarnath Dham actually is a Cave temple and lies along the banks of Sabarmati River. The inception of this temple is very recent, in 2003. Today, during the peak seasons, thousands of devotees throng the temple to get the sighting of Lord Shiva.
This cave temple has a five-foot tall Shivalinga inside a huge rocky cave like structure. The amazing fact about it is that the entire statue is of pure ice! The structure, both inside and outside the cave, would amaze any visitor. Ritesh told me that the devotees wait for hours together in long queues to get a glimpse of the linga. There is no support given to the Linga, be it external or internal. People here say and believe that the idol came into existence on its own and the ice does not melt for months. The structure stands majestically and it is a remarkable sight!
In Jammu and Kashmir, there is a Baba Amarnath cave. The great saints brought white ashes from that cave and deposited here. Due to this, all the rituals performed in the Himalayas take place in this Dham too. Apart from the huge Linga, there are the twelve Jyotirlingas here too. The priests perform the regular worship rituals early in the day and offer prayers to the lord.
They allow the devotees to light lamps and perform special worships too. This temple comes to life during the festival season, especially the Navrathri season and the Maha Shivarathri. During Maha Shivarathri, the priests and the devotees perform special “poojas” for the lord during the night and the day. It was not the peak season, but there was an ample crowd even at this time of the year. We proceeded to have breakfast and then head straight to Indroda Nature Park, all the way back.