Amarnath Cave, dedicated to the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva, is a major attraction in proximity to Srinagar. Located at an altitude of 3888 m above sea level, these caves are believed to be around 5,000 years old. The length, height and width of Amarnath Cave are 60 ft, 15 ft and 30 ft respectively. The destination enshrines a natural Shivaling made of ice and thousands of devotees visit the site in large numbers to pay homage.
Amarnath got its name from Hindi word "amar", which means, "immortal", and "nath", which means, "god". According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva requested him to reveal to her the secrets of immortality. In response, Shiva took her to the secluded caves in the Himalayas, where nobody could eavesdrop on him and revealed the secrets of life to her.
The months of July and August are considered to be ideal for visiting Amaranth. However, the place can also be visited from May to September. Indian Paramilitary Forces and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) keep a close watch at this site to ensure the safety of the visitors. Prior permission from authorities is required to enter the site.
Amarnath Yatra is a pilgrimage undertaken by the devotees of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. The yatra is organised in the month of Shravan, the fifth month of the Hindu calendar, by the Jammu Kashmir Government. Pilgrims, during the Amarnath Yatra, usually face numerous hardships, such as harsh weather conditions and tough climbs throughout the journey. The arduous hike begins from the town of Pahalgam.
The scenic beauty encountered by pilgrims during their uphill trek towards the Amarnath Cave is mesmerising. Snow covers the areas surrounding the shrine all through the year except in the months of June, July and August. As a result, the temple remains open only during these few months.
Sheshnag Lake, situated at a distance of around 27 km from Pahalgam, at an elevation of around 3658 m, is one of the prime attractions of Amarnath. It derives its name from the seven-headed serpent-king of the Hindu mythology, Sheshnag, and owes it to the fact that it is surrounded by seven peaks. Travellers have to undertake a two-day-long hike from Pahalgam in order to reach the destination. The lake remains covered in ice throughout the winter till the month of June.
According to popular folklore, the Sheshnag Lake is the site where Shiva, the Hindu deity of destruction, left his snake, which is believed to represent his power, while en route to Amarnath Cave. Thousands of devotees visit this site during the summer season while on their trip to the Amarnath Cave. Sheshnag Lake is perfect for tourists looking forward to some camping.