Amarnath cave is a Hindu shrine situated at an altitude of 3,888 m about 141 km from Srinagar, and reached through Pahalgam town. The shrine forms an important part of Hinduism,and is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. 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. Thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave on challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalagmite formed inside the cave..
The beginning of the annual pilgrimage, called Amarnath Yatra is marked by 'pratham pujan' to invoke the blessings of Shri Amarnathji. The Yatra trek through the mountains of south Kashmir Himalayas to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnathji is made available only in the months of summer to pay obeisance. In the month of Shravan (July - August) the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Amarnathji has the devout flock, where the image of Lord Shiva, in the form of a Lingam, is formed naturally of ice - stalagmite, and which waxes and wanes with the moon.
Whatever the legends and the history of Amarnathji's discovery, it is today a very important centre of pilgrimage and though the route is as difficult to negotiate as it is exciting, every year, thousands of devotees come to pay homage before Shiva in one of his famous Himalayan abodes.
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder valley, Amarnathji stands at 3,888 m and is 45 km from Pahalgam and 141 km from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimage subscribes that the yatra be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin the journey from Pahalgam, and cover the distance to Amarnathji and back in four or five days. Pahalgam is 96 km from Srinagar.
Since the base point for the pilgrim's trek is picturesque Pahalgam, a large tented township springs up to accommodate the pilgrims. All intermediate halting places have the same kind of facilities as are provided at Pahalgam, and a Yatra Officer is appointed to conduct the pilgrimage..