Amarnath holy caveThe Amarnath caves are one of the most famous shrines in Hinduism, dedicated to the god Shiva, located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is claimed to be over 5,000 years old and forms an important part of ancient Hindu mythology
Inside the main Amarnath cave lies an ice stalagmite resembling the Shiva Linga, which waxes during May to August and gradually wanes thereafter. This lingam is said to grow and shrink with the phases of the moon, reaching its height during the summer festival. According to Hindu mythology, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort Parvati. There are two other ice formations representing Parvati and Shiva's son, Ganesha.
The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,760 ft), about 141 km (88 mi) from Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Reserve Police Force, Indian Army and Indian Paramilitary Forces maintain a strong presence in the region due to concerns of security and hence prior permission is needed from the Government of India before making a pilgrimage.