Amarnath Temple

Amarnath cave is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft),[1] about 141 km (88 mi) from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir and reached through Pahalgam town. The shrine forms an important part of Hinduism,[2] and is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism.[3] The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave across challenging mountainous terrain.

The Amarnath temple is one of 18 Maha Shakti Peethas, or "Grand Shakti Peethas" – highly revered temples throughout South Asia that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati.

Amarnath Cave
Cave Temple of Lord Amarnath
Amarnath Cave Temple
Religion
AffiliationHinduism
DeityShiva
Location
LocationPahalgam, Anantnag
StateJammu and Kashmir
CountryIndia
Amarnath Temple is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Amarnath Temple
Shown within Jammu and Kashmir
Amarnath Temple is located in India
Amarnath Temple
Amarnath Temple (India)
Geographic coordinates34°12′54″N 75°30′03″E / 34.2149°N 75.5008°ECoordinates: 34°12′54″N 75°30′03″E / 34.2149°N 75.5008°E
Website
shriamarnathjishrine.com

The ShivLinga

Lord Amarnath
Ice Lingam at Amarnath Cave

Inside the 40 m (130 ft) high Amarnath cave, a stalagmite 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.[4] It is considered to be a Shiva Linga by Hindus. It is mentioned in the ancient Hindu texts of Mahabharata and Puranas that Lingam represents Lord Shiva.[5] The Lingam waxes during May to August, as snow melts in the Himalayas above the cave and the resultant water seeps into the rocks that form the cave and gradually wanes thereafter.[1] As per religious beliefs, it has been claimed that the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon reaching its height during the summer festival, although there is no scientific evidence for this belief.[6] According to a Hindu religious beliefs, this is the place where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Parvati.[7][8]

History

The book Rajatarangini (Book VII v.183) refers to Amareshwara or Amarnath. It is believed that Queen Suryamati in the 11th century AD gifted trishuls, banalingas and other sacred emblems to this temple.[9] 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

According to legend, Bhrigu Muni was the first to have discovered Amarnath. Long time ago it is believed that The Valley of Kashmir was submerged under water and Kashyap Muni drained it through a series of rivers and rivulets. Therefore, when the waters drained, Bhrigu Muni was the first to have Darshan of Lord Amarnath. Thereafter, when people heard of the Lingam, it became an abode of Lord Bholenath for all believers and a pilgrimage which is done by lakhs of people each year.[9] According to the researchers and as per the belief of locals gadaria community were the first to discover the Amaranth cave and saw the first glimpse of Baba Barfani.

François Bernier, a French physician accompanied Emperor Aurangzeb during his visit to Kashmir in 1663. In his book “Travels in Mughal Empire” he writes while giving an account the places he visited in Kashmir that he was “pursuing journey to a grotto full of wonderful congelations, two days journey from Sangsafed” when he “received intelligence that my Nawab felt very impatient and uneasy on account of my long absence”. The “grotto” he refers to is obviously the Amarnath cave as the editor of the second edition of the English translation of the book, Vincient A. Smith makes clear in his introduction. He writes: “The grotto full of wonderful congelations is the Amarnath cave, where blocks of ice, stalagmites formed by dripping water from the roof are worshipped by many Hindus who resort here as images of Shiva…..”[10]

Yatra

Amarnath Yatra Camp
Amarnath Yatra Camp.
Amarnath 4
View Of Amarnath Valley

The peak pilgrimage occurs when the iced stalagmite Shiv lingam reaches the apex of its waxing phase through the summer months.[11] The July-August popular annual Hindu pilgrimage, undertaken by up to 600,000 or more pilgrims to the 130 feet (40 m)-high glacial Amarnath cave shrine of iced stalagmite Shiv linga at 12,756 feet (3,888 m) in the Himalayas, is called Amarnath Yatra.[12][13][14][15] It begins with a 43 kilometres (27 mi) mountainous trek from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam and reaches cave-shrine after night halts at Sheshnag Lake and Panchtarni camps.[16] The yatra is both a way of earning revenue by the state government by imposing tax on pilgrims,[17][18] and making living by the local Shia Muslim Bakarwal-Gujjars by taking a portion of revenue and by offering services to the Hindu pilgrims, and this source of income has been threatened by the Kashmiri militant groups who have harassed and attacked the yatra numerous times,[19][20][21] [22] causing killings and massacres, with at least 59 people killed till July 2017 on this yatra causing death of mostly Hindu pilgrims, at least 10 Muslim civilians, and security forces personnel.[23][24][25][26][27]

The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen group had in the past imposed what it called a "ban" on the yatra in 1994, 1995 and 1998 while threatening the pilgrims of "serious consequences".[28] The Amarnath pilgrimage was suspended in July 2016 due to the Kashmir unrest.[29] A section of Sufis and Shias later demanded resumption of the Yatra.Kalbe Jawad, a Shia cleric and general secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind and Sufi Cleric Syed Hasnain Baqai expressed concern that the tradition had been suspended because of upheaval in Kashmir.[20]

The number of pilgrims to the site has risen from around 12,000 in 1989 to over 400,000 in 2007.[11] This popular yatra destination for Hindus, received about 634,000 people in 2011, the highest recorded number for the site.[30] The number was 622,000 in 2012 and 350,000 in 2013. Pilgrims visit the holy site during the 45-day season around the festival of Shravani Mela in July–August, coinciding with the Hindu holy month of Shraavana.

The beginning of the annual pilgrimage, called Amarnath Yatra[31] is marked by 'pratham pujan' to invoke the blessings of Shri Amarnathji.[32]

In olden days the route was via Rawalpindi (Pakistan) but now a direct train is there connecting rest of India to Jammu, the winter capital of the State. The best part of journey is between Guru Purnima and Shravan Purnima. But the highly unpredictable weather of the mountains should be more obliging before Guru Purnima as rains would not start. There is a bus service from Jammu to Pahalgam (7,500 ft.). At Pahalgam the pilgrims arrange for coolies or ponies to carry gear of food and clothes etc. Pahalgam in Kashmiri means the land of shepherds.

In 2019, the Yatra would commence on 01st of July and end on 15th of August.[33]

Route

AmarnathPilgrimTrek
Amarnath pilgrims en route the holy shrine

Devotees travel on foot, either from Srinagar or from Pahalgam.[3] "The latter journey takes approximately 5 days", BBC.[3]

The State Road Transport Corporation and Private Transport Operators provide the regular services from Jammu to Pahalgam and Baltal. Also privately hired taxis are available from Jammu & Kashmir.

The shorter northern route is just about 16 km long, but has a very steep gradient and is quite difficult to climb. It starts from Baltal and passes through Domel, Barari, and Sangam to reach the cave. The northern route is along the Amarnath valley and all along the route one can see the river Amaravati (a tributary of Chenab) which originates from Amarnath Glacier.

It is believed that Lord Shiva left Nandi, the bull, at Pahalgam (Bail Gaon). At Chandanwari, he released the Moon from his hair (Jata). On the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he released his snakes. At Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Mountain), he left his son Lord Ganesha. At Panjtarni, Lord Shiva left behind the five elements - Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky. As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world, Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Dance. Then, finally, Lord Shiva entered the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Mata Parvati.[34]

Facilities

En route the cave, various non-profit organizations have set up food supply and resting tents called pandals which are available for free to the pilgrims. Near the shrine, hundreds of tents which are erected by locals can be hired for a night's stay. Helicopter services from base camp to Panjtarni (6 km from the cave) are also available from various private operators.[35]

Security

Every year, thousands of central armed forces and state police personnel are deployed to provide security to pilgrims from potential terror threats. The forces position at various halts and also in the perimeter of the shrine.[36]

Deaths

Of the 622,000 yatra pilgrims in 2012, 130 died during the yatra. The major cause was attributed to people who were not physically fit for the arduous climb, high elevations, and adverse weather undertook the yatra. Some also died in road accidents before reaching the base camp from where the yatra starts. Of the 130 deaths, 88 were due to purported health reasons and 42 in road accidents. The 2012 pilgrimage ended on Shravana Purnima (Raksha Bandan) Day, 2 August 2012.[37]

Organisers

Officially, the Yatra is organised by the government in collaboration with the Shree Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB). Various agencies provide necessary facilities all along the route during the Yatra period, which includes provision of ponies, supply of power, telecommunication facilities, firewood and setting up of fair price shops.[35]

1990's terrorist threats and 1996 yatra tragedy

The number of pilgrims in 1992 reached 50,000.[38] The first attack against the pilgrims happened in 1993, that year Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Ansar had announced a ban due to demolition of Babri Masjid. The pilgrimage however passed off mostly peacefully.[39]

In 1994-5 and 1998, the group again announced a ban on the annual Amarnath yatra. In 1996 the militants had assured that they would not interfere allowing a resumed yatra with far greater numbers than in previous years. However, unseasonal blizzards in late August of that year led to a tragedy that claimed the lives of 242 yatris, killed by exhaustion and exposure.[28][22]

2000 pilgrimage massacre

The pilgrimage suffered another setback with the massacre at Nunwan base camp in Pahalgam of at 32 people (including 21 unarmed Hindu pilgrims, 7 unarmed Muslim civilians and 3 security force officers) in a two hour long indiscriminate shoot out by Kashmiri separatists on August 2, 2000.[24][40] Most were yatris on their way to Amarnath[41] or porters and horsemen who would have ferried the pilgrims to the site.[42] This attack on Amarnath yatra was part of the larger 1st and 2nd August 2000 Kashmir massacre in 5 separate coordinated terrorist attacks that killed at least 89 (official count) to 105 people (as reported by PTI), and injured at least 62 more.[24][43] Then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for the killings.[44]

2001 terrorist-attack massacre

On 20 July 2001, a terrorist threw a grenade on a pilgrim night camp at Sheshnag near the Amarnath shrine in which at least 13 persons, including 3 women, were killed in two explosions and firing by militants, 2 were security officials and 3 of the killed person were Muslim civilians.[26][23] 15 other were also injured in the attack.[45]

2002 terrorist-attack massacre

On 30 July and 6 August 2002, in two separate incidents terrorists from al-Mansuriyan, a front group of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, massacred 2 and 9 pilgrims and injured 3 and 27 people in Srinagar and near Nunwan pilgrimage base camp respectively.[24][27]

2017 yatra attack

Seven Hindu pilgrims were killed on July 10 in a gun attack returning from Amarnath. The Pakistani outfit, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was found responsible.[46]

2019 suspension

The yatra was suspended in August 2019 due to threat of possible terrorist attacks. Similarly, the pilgrimage to Machail Mata has been suspended.[47]

Controversies

2008 Land transfer controversy

On 26 May 2008, the Government of India and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir reached an agreement to transfer 100 acres (0.40 km2) of forest land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB)[48] to set up temporary shelters and facilities for Hindu pilgrims. Kashmiri separatists opposed the move citing reasons that it will jeopardize the article 370 that gives separate identity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and prevents any Indian citizen to settle in Kashmir. People in Kashmir staged widespread protests against this decision by government of India.[49] Due to the protests, the J&K State government relented and reversed the decision to transfer land. As a result, Hindus in the Jammu region launched counter-agitations against this roll back.[50]

Environmental impact

Environmentalists have expressed concern that the number of people participating in the Amarnath Yatra is having a negative impact on the area's ecology and some have expressed support for government regulated limits on the number of pilgrims permitted to make the trek.[51] However no studies have been made nor has an environmental impact assessment done. As of date, the Government of India restricts travellers only on the basis on logistics, time window for the yatra and weather.

Amarnath yatra tax controversy

The Government of Jammu and Kashmir had in 2010 issued a notification under the State Motor Vehicle Taxation Act 1957, under which vehicles going to Amarnath Yatra will have to pay a tax of 2,000 for seven days and 2,000 per day after that. Similar provisions were made for pilgrims going to Sri Mata Vaishno Devi under which they need to pay 2000 for a period of three days. India's central political party the Bhartiya Janata Party expressed its ire over imposition of entry fee and accused the then UPA led central government to direct the Jammu and Kashmir dispensation to desist from making attempts to "discriminate" between followers of various religions. BJP criticized the decision "as a reminiscent of Jizya imposed during Mughal period on Hindus," In response to the question in Lok Sabha (Lower house of the Indian Parliament) then Minister of State for Finance, S.S. Palanimanickam clarified that tax is levied on all India Tourist Vehicles entering the state and is therefore not correct to say that Government of Jammu & Kashmir is levying any additional tax on vehicles going to Amarnath and Vaishno Devi. He also said that Taxation of Motor vehicles falls under the purview of State Governments as per the seventh schedule of Constitution of India and Central Government cannot direct the State Government to change the tax rate on vehicles.[52][18]

Popular culture

Famous Santoor artist Rahul Sharma named a track after Amarnath temple as "Shiva Linga: The Amarnath Cave"[53]

Gallery

Pilgrims Riding on Ponies on the way to Amarnath

Pilgrims riding ponies on the way to Amarnath Cave

Breathtaking scenery on way to Amarnath Cave

On way to Amarnath Cave

Pandals in service to pilgrims.jpeg

Pandal tents serving free community kitchen food to the pilgrims

Helicopter service Amarnath

Helicopter service up to panjtarni on route to Amarnath Cave

Tent near Amarnath Cave

Tents are available to hire for a small fee near base of imposing Amarnath Cave as visible in background

Snow Bridge in Chandanwari

Glacier over Lidder River in Chandanwari on the way to Amarnath Temple

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Amarnathji Yatra - a journey into faith". Official Web Site of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism.
  2. ^ "New shrine on Amarnath route". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 30 May 2005.
  3. ^ a b c "The pilgrimage to Amarnath". BBC News. 6 August 2002. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Stalactites and Stalagmites - Cave, Water, Caves, and Growth - JRank Articles". Science.jrank.org. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  5. ^ "lingam". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010.
  6. ^ Ortner, Jon, "On the road again". PDN Gallery.
  7. ^ Shantha N. Nair, "The Holy Himalayas", pp.84.
  8. ^ "Amarnath Cave - The legend". Bhole Bhandari Charitable Trust.
  9. ^ a b "Amarnath Yatra: In Search Of Salvation". Shriamarnathyatra.net. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  10. ^ Mohini Qasba Raina (2013). Kashur The Kashmiri Speaking People. Partridge Publishing Singapore. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-4828-9945-0.
  11. ^ a b Pilgrimage in the Marketplace. Routledge.
  12. ^ "Amarnath Yatra explained", Amarnath Yatra organisation.
  13. ^ "Amarnath Yatra Tourism Information", One India Online
  14. ^ "Amarnath: Journey to the shrine of a Hindu god", Boston.Com Archived 29 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, 13 July 20112.
  15. ^ Hiking through the mountains of Kashmir
  16. ^ "Amarnath yatra ends, least number of pilgrims in decade", The Hindu, 18 August 2016.
  17. ^ "BJP demands removal of Amarnath yatra entry fee", Times of India.
  18. ^ a b "No Additional Tax Levied on Vehicles Going to Amarnath and Vaishno Devi", Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Finance of Government of India, 2010.
  19. ^ Carl W. Ernst, 2016, "Refractions of Islam in India: Situating Sufism and Yoga", SAGE Publications, ISBN 9351509648.
  20. ^ a b "Muslim group asks for reviving Amarnath Yatra", Times of India, 17 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Expert Speak on Kashmir: No algorithm for Azadi", Observer Research Foundation, August 2016.
  22. ^ a b [1] Archived 10 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ a b 6 pilgrims among 13 killed in 2 blasts, The Tribune, 11 July 2017.
  24. ^ a b c d Vicky Nanjappa, "Amarnath yatra has been attacked thrice in the past", One India News. 11 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Amarnath yatra: Terrorists were directed to eliminate 100 to 150 pilgrims, says intelligence report", The Hindu, 11 July 2017.
  26. ^ a b Amarnath terror attack survivor narrates tale of punctured bus tyre and terror strike
  27. ^ a b 2003, Chronology of Major Killings in Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmir herald, Volume 2, No. 11.]
  28. ^ a b "Rediff On The NeT: Harkatul Mujaheedin 'bans' Amarnath Yatra". Rediff.com. 9 July 1998. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  29. ^ Amarnath Yatra Suspended from Jammu Due to Kashmir Situation
  30. ^ "Amarnath yatra: Record 6.34 lakh visit shrine". Zeenews.india.com. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  31. ^ "Amarnath yatra likely to start from 29 June", Rediff, 19 June 2011
  32. ^ "Amarnath yatra's pratham pujan held near Pahalgam", 15 June 2011 23:04 IST, rediff.com
  33. ^ "Amarnath Yatra 2015 to commence on July 2 and finish on August 29". news.biharprabha.com. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  34. ^ ShivShankar. "Shiv Shankar's secret of immortality and the Amarnath Cave". ShivShankar.in.
  35. ^ a b "Amarnath Yatra 2011- The Countdown Begins | Northern Voices Online". Nvonews.com. 7 June 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  36. ^ "High security on Amarnath Yatra routes". Ibnlive.in.com. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  37. ^ "Amarnath Yatra ends, Charri Mubarak reaches shrine". The Times Of India. 2 August 2012.
  38. ^ "Further setbacks in Kashmir as militants ban Amarnath yatra, removal of bunkers in Hazratbal". India Today. 31 August 1994. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  39. ^ "Why Amarnath Yatra terror attack signals crossing of a red line in Kashmir". Indian Express. 9 July 1998. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  40. ^ Amarnath pilgrimage resumes, BBC, 2000-08-04
  41. ^ Night of massacres leaves 105 dead in valley, The Tribune, 2000-08-03
  42. ^ Muslim militants kill 21 Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir, The Independent, 2000-08-02
  43. ^ "Night of massacres leaves 105 dead in valley", The Tribune, 3 August 2000.
  44. ^ "Prime Minister Vajpayee's statement in Parliament regarding the recent massacre in Jammu & Kashmir". Indianembassy.org. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  45. ^ "Amarnath Yatra devotees have faced repeated terror attacks: Here's the blood-soaked history of pilgrimage", First Post, 11 July 2017.
  46. ^ "Three arrested for attack on Amarnath yatris: IGP Kashmir Munir Khan".
  47. ^ "Don't Panic, Jammu & Kashmir Governor Tells Political Parties as Tourists and Pilgrims Leave Valley". news18.com. 3 August 2019.
  48. ^ "Amarnath land row: SASB CEO removed". Zeenews.com. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  49. ^ "Jammu is not for burning – 2008 Rediff.com India". Specials.rediff.com. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  50. ^ Economic blockade affects life in Kashmir (4 August 2008). "Economic blockade affects life in Kashmir". Ndtv.com. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  51. ^ "Massive Hindu Pilgrimage Melting Sacred Glacier". News.nationalgeographic.com. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  52. ^ BJP demands removal of fee imposed on Amarnath yatris, Times of India.
  53. ^ "Shiva Linga - The Amarnath Cave: Rahul Sharma: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 April 2013.

External links

2017 Amarnath Yatra attack

On 10 July 2017, the first Monday of the month of Shraavana, 8 Hindu civilian pilgrims on the way from Amarnath Temple in Kashmir Valley, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir were killed in a terror attack. The pilgrims mostly belonged to the Indian state of Gujarat. Seven people were killed and at least 18 people were injured in the attack.

Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo

Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo (English: "We entrust this nation in you, O countrymen") is a 2004 Indian war drama film, directed by Anil Sharma and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Akshay Kumar, Divya Khosla Kumar, Sandali Sinha and Nagma

Amarnath Express

The 15653 / 54 Guwahati Jammu Tawi Amarnath Express is an Express train belonging to Indian Railways - Northeast Frontier Railway zone that runs between Guwahati and Jammu Tawi in India.

It operates as train number 15653 from Guwahati to Jammu Tawi and as train number 15654 in the reverse direction serving the 8 states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab & Jammu and Kashmir.

It is named after the Amarnath Temple which is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is 1 of 2 trains that connect Guwahati and Jammu Tawi, the other being the Lohit Express.

Amarnath pilgrimage terrorist-attack massacre (2001)

On 20 July 2001, in the month of Shraavana, 13 people were killed and 15 other injured in a terror attack on a pilgrim night camp at Sheshnag Lake near the Amarnath Temple glacial cave shrine in Kashmir Valley in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, in two explosions and firing by militants. In a pre-dawn attack, terrorists penetrated several layers of security cordon and exploded two improvised explosive devices (lEDs), casualties included 8 Hindu civilian pilgrims entailing 2 women, and 3 Muslim civilians and 2 security personnel.

Amarnath pilgrimage terrorist-attack massacre (2002)

On 30 July and 6 August 2002, in the month of Shraavana, 11 people were killed and 30 injured in a terror attack by terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba's front group of al-Mansuriyan, on Nunwan base camp at Pahalgam of the Amarnath Hindu pilgrimage to Amarnath Temple glacial cave shrine in Kashmir Valley in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the spate of attack on yatra in the third consecutive year, 2 pilgrims were killed and 3 injured on 30 July when terrorists threw grenades at a civilian taxi of pilgrims in Srinagar. Further, 9 people were killed and 27 injured on 6 August by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists' hail of bullets at Nunwan base camp at Pahalgam.

Betaab Valley

Betaab valley is situated at a distance of 15 kilometers from Pahalgam in Anantnag district in India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir. The valley got its name from the Sunny Deol-Amrita Singh hit debut film Betaab. The Valley is towards northeast of Pahalgam and falls between Pahalgam and Chandanwadi and is en route Amarnath Temple Yatra. The valley surrounded by lush green meadows, snow clad mountains and covered with dense vegetation.

Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena

Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (BSKS) is a New Delhi-based nationalist right-wing organization . It has claimed responsibility for the attack on lawyer Prashant Bhushan of the Aam Admi Party who had supported the plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir in line with UN directive. It has also been active in various protests, including the protest against the shortening of the duration of the Amarnath Temple yatra and against activist .It also pasted posters, demanding Balochistan independence, near the Pakistan High Commission and other embassies.

Deogarh, Rajasthan

Deogarh, also known as Devgarh, is a city and a municipality in Rajsamand District in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Formerly the city was an estate of the Chundawat Rajputs.

EME Temple

The EME Temple or "Dakshinamurthy Temple" is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built in 1966 and run by Indian Army authorities in the city of Vadodara, in the state of Gujarat, Western India. It is unique in its concept and design and its geodesic structure, covered with aluminium sheets, is well regarded by archaeologists. It was built by the Indian Army Corps of EME. This temple is a major attraction for both tourist and devotees and is one of its kind in the world.

Hindu pilgrimage sites in India

In Hindu religion and spirituality, the pilgrimage has great significance. Members of the faith participate in the following types of pilgrimage. The pilgrimage to each sacred site has its own religious significance.

Holy Place: Himalayan Char Dham - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.

Varanasi/Kashi, Prayagraj, Haridwar-Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Somnath and Ayodhya.

Holy Fairs: The Kumbh Mela (the "pitcher festival") is one of the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages that is held four times every twelve years; the location is rotated among the four cities of Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. Shravani Mela of Deoghar and Pitrapaksha Mela of Gaya are also notable holy fairs.

Holy Temples: the Char Dham of Rameswaram, Dwarka, Puri, and Badrinath.

Katra, home to the Vaishno Devi temple; Puri home to Vaishnava Jagannath temple and Rath Yatra celebration; Tirumala - Tirupati, home to the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple; Sabarimala home to Swami Ayyappan; the Shakti Peethas; the twelve Jyotirlingas; the seven Sapta Puri; the Pancha Bhoota Stalam.

Mahamaham: the world-famous festival in temple town of Kumbakonam which is celebrated once in 12 years. More than 25 lakhs of people gather here from different parts of the world.

Holy Deity : Kuladaivat Hindu families have their own family patron deity. This deity is common to a lineage, a clan or a locality.

Tombs and Samadhis of Saints: Alandi, Samadhi of Dnyaneshwar: Mantralayam, samadhi of Raghavendra Tirtha, Belur Math which enshrine that Holy remains of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda Puri, and other direct Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, Tulsi Ghat, Varanasi where Saint Tulsidas left his mortal coil, Samadhi Mandir of Saint Kabir at Gorakhpur, near Varanasi, Panchaganga Ghat, Varanasi where Trailanga Swami lived and left his mortal body, Karar Ashram, Puri where Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, attained the Mahasamadhi.

Kashmir Valley

The Kashmir Valley, also known as the Vale of Kashmir, is an intermontane valley in the portion of the Kashmir region administered by India. The valley is bounded on the southwest by the Pir Panjal Range and on the northeast by the main Himalayas range. It is approximately 135 km long and 32 km wide, and drained by the Jhelum River.The Kashmir Division is a revenue and administrative division of the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmir division borders Jammu Division to the south and Ladakh to the east while Line of Control forms its northern and the western border. The division consists of the following districts: Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipore, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Srinagar.

List of rock-cut temples in India

This is a partial list of Indian rock-cut temples by state or union territory.

Panchtarni

Panchtarni is a locality in Anantnag district of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It is a popular pilgrimage and tourist destination on the way to Amarnath Temple near the Amarnath Glacier in Himalayas. It is located 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Pahalgam base camp and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) ahead of last halt camp of Sheshnag Lake in the north. It is a meadowland on the banks of eponymous Panchtarni River where five glacier-fed tributary streams meet in eponymous Panchtarni Valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains at an altitude of 11,500 feet (3,500 m). It is also the final helicopter drop off for the Amarnath yatra pilgrims, who have to trek the rest of the 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) journey either on foot or by mule from this camp.

Parshuram Mahadev Temple

Parshuram Mahadev Temple is a Shiva temple located at border of Pali and Rajsamand district of Rajasthan state in India . It is said that Parshuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu, made the cave with his axe and used to worship the lord Shiva at this serene place in the foothills of the Aravalis mountain range. The cave, 3,995 feet above sea-level, has naturally made figures of Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva and also has nine Kunds which never go dry. The place is 14 km from Sadri town.

There are 500 stairs to reach down to the ancient cave. This is one of the pleasant and delightful place. It is also known as Amarnath temple of Rajasthan and second Amarnath temple of India.

Parshuram Mahadev Temple does not have any special program on Parshuram Jayanti, but every year Shravan Shukla Shishthi and Saptami get a huge fair here.

Sharada Peeth

Sharada Peeth (Urdu: شاردا پیٹھ‎; Kashmiri: शारदा पीठ (Devanagari), 𑆯𑆳𑆫𑆢𑆳 𑆥𑆵𑆜 (Sharada)) is a Hindu temple and ancient centre of learning dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, Sharada. Located in Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir, it was one of the foremost temple universities of the Indian subcontinent in Middle Republican and medieval Kashmir, hosting scholars such as Kalhana, Adi Shankara, Vairotsana, Kumarajiva, and Thonmi Sambhota. It played a key role in the development and popularisation of the Sharada script in North India, and Kashmir was sometimes called Sharada Desh because of its influence as a centre of learning.

One of the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas, Sharada Peeth represents the spiritual location of the goddess Sati's fallen right hand. Sharada Peeth is one of the three holiest sites of pilgrimage for Kashmiri Pandits, alongside the Martand Sun Temple and the Amarnath Temple.The shrine remains politically significant, with Kashmiri Pandit organisations and leaders from Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir urging the governments of India and Pakistan to facilitate cross-border pilgrimages. Senior Indian politicians have also called on Pakistan to renovate the temple, and it is discussed bilaterally as part of the Composite Dialogue between the governments of India and Pakistan. In March 2019, Pakistani media reported that Pakistan is exploring the possibility of a corridor for Indian pilgrims, and may be close to approving a plan. However, the Pakistani government has since said that a decision has not been made.

Sind River

The Sind River or the Sindh River is a river in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir state of India. It is a major tributary of the Jehlum River and is 108 kilometres long.

Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India locked in Himalayan Mountains. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, Sindh Valley and Lidder Valley. Some major tourist attractions in Jammu and Kashmir are Srinagar, the Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop, Jammu, and Ladakh. Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit.

Yatra

Yātrā (Sanskrit: यात्रा, 'journey', 'procession'), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means a pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites. Tīrtha-yātrā refers to a pilgrimage to a holy site and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as a yatri. As per Vedic Hindu Dharma Shastras, a Yatri is supposed to do Yatra barefoot. He/she should travel without umbrellas, vehicles etc., to get the benefit of the Yatra. At present these rules are not followed by many pilgrims.

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