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History, Location and Unresolved Mysteries about Amarnath

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Amarnath cave is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir, India. Every year, Lakhs of pilgrimages visit this place. There are lot of questions that pop up to one’s mind like:

Why is Shivling formed only at this specific location every year ? why not some other place? Why is it so special for Hindus? Is there a scientific reason behind it or GOD do exist?
So, I have done some searching in internet and talked to some experts who told me some really interesting facts related to it.

History Behind Amarnath Shivling:

One day when Lord Shiva was wearing the beads then Mata Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the reason behind wearing these beads Mala. Shiva told her that whenever you were born in new form then I added bead to the Mala. Maa Parvati asked – why are you immortal and I keep on dying again and again? Lord Shiva said that this is due to the Amarkatha. Maa Parvati insisted to hear that Amarkatha and after convincing Lord for a long time, Lord Shiva decided to narrate that story to Maa Parvati.

One who heard this Amarkatha would become immortal. So, Shiva started looking for a Quiet, Lonely place where no one could hear the Amarkatha except Mata Parvati. His search ended up with cave which we call today Amarnath Cave. He left all his belonging on the way like His bull Nandi at Pahalgam, His Moon at Chandanwari, His snakes at the banks of Lake Sheshnag, His son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat and at Panjtarni, He left his Five Elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Sky).

After this, Lord Shiva entered in this holy Amarnath Cave with Maa Parvati. Lord Shiva sat on the Deer Skin and took a samadhi. To further make sure that not even a single living being could hear the secret Amarkatha, He created a rudra named Kaal agni and ordered him to set fire around the cave so that everything living around that place could be destroyed.

But in spite of all these efforts, one egg remained protected under the deer skin on which the Lord was sitting. But it was considered as non-living. When Shiva started narrating the story of immortality to Maa Parvati then a pair of pigeons was born out of that egg. In the middle of the Amarkatha, Mata Parvati felt asleep and could not hear the whole Amarkatha. But a pair of pigeon heard the whole Amarkatha and became immortal. Pilgrims can still see the pigeon pair while going towards the Amarnath Cave.

Discovery of Amarnath Cave:

There are lot of stories attached behind the discovery of this Amarnath Cave. Few of them are below:

It is believed that after the Middle Ages, this cave was forgotten by people before it was discovered by a shepherd in the 15th century once again.

Another story relates to Bhrigu Muni. Long time ago it is believed that The Vale of Kashmir was submerged under water and Kashyapa 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.[8] As we well know Francois 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…..”.

There are references to the legendary king Aryaraja who used to worship a lingam formed of ice in Kashmir.[citation needed] The book Rajatarangini (Book VII v.183) refers to Amareshwara or Amarnath. It is believed that Queen Suryamathi in the 11th century AD gifted trishuls, banalingas and other sacred emblems to this temple. 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.

Scientific Reason Behind the Amarnath Shivling:

There is no authenticated theory behind the formation of Amarnath Shivling in Amarnath Cave. But there are lot of given theories which are as follow:

In Summer, the outside view of Amarnath Cave:

In Summer, Insisde view of Amarnath Cave:

Scientists says that there are lot of small holes in the cave. Air from the outside enters the cave from these small pores and freezes the water drops. Then these frozen water drops fall from the roof of the cave and take the shape of the Shivling.

Facts against this theory:

At 0 degree Celsius, water converts into ice. Then the question arises in summer ice starts melting then how the Amarnath Shivling starts forming in summer. 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.

They are not able to explain the reason why the the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon reaching its height during the summer festival,

Other Interesting fact that I found which explain the shape of Amarnath Shivling:

Central Limit Theorem explains the shape of Amarnath Shivling which which says that for a population of any distribution the sampling distribution of the sample means is approximately normal with a mean equal to the population mean and variance equal to the population variance divided by n (sample size) as long as the sample size is sufficiently large (>30).

The above is demonstration of Central Limit Theorem in 2 dimensions. Add one more dimension and you get the Amarnath ice formation. So the first water droplet falling from the roof top towards the floor of the cave (assuming there is no ice already on the floor) will fall straight and break into tiny droplets which will fall around (and might also freeze if the temperature is sufficiently low). As the ice builds on the floor it naturally acquires a bell curve since the droplets have an equal chance of flowing down on the ice mound in all directions.

Science has achieved so much but still there are few thing that are mystery or to be achieved by Science. God has made few things as unexplainable just to make His presence feel by the people.
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