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Amarnath history

Aryaraja (34 BCE-17CE) used to spend "the most delightful Kashmir summer" in worshiping a lingam formed of snow/ice "in the regions above the forests". This too appears to be a reference to the ice lingam at Amarnath. There is yet another reference to Amareshwara or Amarnath in the Rajatarangini (Book VII v.183). According to Kalhana, Queen Suryamati, the wife of King Ananta (1028-1063), "granted under her husbands name agraharas at Amareshwara, and arranged for the consecration of trishulas, banalingas and other [sacred emblems]".

In his Chronicle of Kashmir, a sequel to Kalhanas Rajatarangini, Jonaraja relates that that Sultan Zainul-abidin (1420-1470) paid a visit to the sacred tirtha of Amarnath while constructing a canal on the left bank of the river Lidder (vv.1232-1234).[citation needed] The canal is now known as Shah Kol.

In the Fourth Chronicle named Rajavalipataka, which was begun by Prjayabhatta and completed by Shuka, there is a clear and detailed reference to the pilgrimage to the sacred site (v.841,vv. 847-849). According to it, in a reply to Akbars query about Kashmir Yusuf Khan, the Mughal governor of Kashmir at that time, described among other things the Amarnath Yatra in full detail.

HISTORY OF THE AMARNATH PILGRIMAGE
The separatists in Kashmir and their "secular" supporters are trying to spread the myth that the Amaranth Yatra is of a recent origin. They claim that it started only after a Muslim shepherd of Batakot, a certain Buta Malik, originally"discovered" the Amarnath cave when he lost his flock and found that it had strayed into the sacred spot some 150 years ago. There is no documentary proof of this so-called discovery, the story having probably been concocted to give credit to Muslims for having started the most popular Hindu pilgrimage of Kashmir.

There is ample and conclusive historical evidence, on the other hand, to prove that the holy cave and the ice lingam were known to the people since very ancient times and have been continuously and regularly visited by pilgrims not only from Kashmir but also from different parts of India.

"While the earliest reference to Amarnath can be seen in the Nilamata Purana (v.1324), a 6th century Sanskrit text which depicts the religious and cultural life of early Kashmiris and gives Kashmirs own creation myth, the pilgrimage to the holy cave has been described with full topographical details in the Bhringish Samhita and the Amarnatha Mahatmya, both ancient texts said to have been composed even earlier."
References to Amarnath, known have also been made in historical chronicles like the Rajatarangini and its sequels and several Western travellers accounts also leaving no doubt about the fact that the holy cave has been known to people for centuries. The original name of the tirtha, as given in the ancient texts, is of course Amareshwara, Amarnath being a name given later to it.

Giving the legend of the Naga Sushruvas, who in his fury burnt to ashes the kingdom of King Nara when he tried to abduct his daughter already married to a Brahmin youth, and after the carnage took his abode in the lake now known as Sheshnag (Kashmiri Sushramnag), Kalahana writes:
"The lake of dazzling whiteness [resembling] a sea of milk (Sheshnag), which he created [for himself as residence] on a far off mountain, is to the present day seen by the people on the pilgrimage to Amareshwara."(Rajatarangini, Book I v. 267.Translation: M. A. Stein).

This makes it very clear that pilgrims continued to visit the holy Amarnath cave in the 12th century, for Kalhana wrote his chronicle in the years1148-49.

At another place in the Rajatarangini (Book II v. 138), Kalhana says that King Samdhimat Aryaraja (34 BCE-17CE) used to spend "the most delightful Kashmir summer" in worshiping a linga formed of snow "in the regions above the forests". This too appears to be a reference to the ice linga at Amarnath. There is yet another reference to Amareshwara or Amarnath in the Rajatarangini (Book VII v.183). According to Kalhana, Queen Suryamati, the wife of King Ananta (1028-1063), "granted under her husbands name agraharas at Amareshwara, and arranged for the consecration of trishulas, banalingas and other [sacred emblems]".

In his Chronicle of Kashmir, a sequel to Kalhanas Rajatarangini, Jonaraja relates that that Sultan Zainul-abidin (1420-1470) paid a visit to the sacred tirtha of Amarnath while constructing a canal on the left bank of the river Lidder (vv.1232-1234). The canal is now known as Shah Kol.

In the Fourth Chronicle named Rajavalipataka, which was begun by Prjayabhatta and completed by Shuka, there is a clear and detailed reference to the pilgrimage to the sacred site (v.841,vv. 847-849). According to it, in a reply to Akbars query about Kashmir Yusuf Khan,

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