Pilgrimage to the sacred Amarnath Cave
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Indian pilgrims embark on an odyssey that takes more than one day. Travelers will not only get an impressive mileage, but up to a height of 3888 meters above sea level. Traditionally, this “campaign” takes place every year in June. Meanwhile, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, is one of the most important shrines in their religion – Amarnath cave. According to legend, it was in this cave, once, he told his Shiva Shakti (wife), Parvati, what is the secret of life and eternity. Due to the low temperature inside the cave there are a few blocks of ice, which are considered the embodiment of Shiva and known as “Swayambhu Murti”. And why June? Because during this very brief period, the snow, blocking the approaches to the cave, melts and allows access to the temple.
The brave Hindu devotees cope with sub-zero temperatures to hike over glaciers. In addition, they have to pass high altitude mountain to reach the sacred Amarnath cave, which houses an ice stalagmite, a stylized phallus, worshiped by Hindus as a symbol of the god Shiva.
According to local officials, more than 700,000 Hindu pilgrims are going to take part in this year’s two-month pilgrimage. This will cause strain on the environment and political stability of the region, which has long fought for independence from India.