"An already difficult journey has become dangerous."
August 16, 2008 2:49 AM   Subscribe

Long before people called themselves Muslims or Hindus, long before they fought and died over these or any labels... water dripped and froze inside the Amarnath Cave at the heart of Kashmir. Amarnath Cave official site. Amarnath Cave pilgrimage. Amarnath virtual tour. Wikipedia's page on the Amarnath land transfer.
posted by amyms (14 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've not yet taken darshan of the lingam there.

The Amarnath Yatra is unfortunately a deadly affair for so many devotees, year after year...
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:19 AM on August 16, 2008

Great story on that first link, but the pictures of the object leave me a bit unimpressed, especially compared to the inset image of the lingam.
posted by cellphone at 6:09 AM on August 16, 2008

Whenever I think of "India" and "caves" it's A Passage to India, even though it was a fictional cave and no where near Kashmir. It seems like caves play an central role, at least in some India's India (impossible to speak of India in general).
posted by stbalbach at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2008

...the tears of snow-white sorrow
Caress the one, the hiding Amarnath...

posted by Wolfdog at 7:40 AM on August 16, 2008

It is a pity about the global warming causing the disappearacne of the ice lingham, but frankly, I'm more worried about the shrinkage of the Himalayan glaciers that feed so many major Asian rivers that provide drinking water.
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:08 AM on August 16, 2008

Whenever I think of "India" and "caves" it's either a tiny hole inhabited by a naked or orange-clad Sadhu, or else perhaps the cave temples of Badami, Ajanta or Ellora.

Here are some quicktime virtual reality panoramas of the caves in Ellora. Be sure to check out cave 16 - the Kailasha temple. Actually, not a cave at all, but a complete temple carved out of the rock.

And here is a lazy wikipedia list of Indian cave temples, for further exploration.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:13 PM on August 16, 2008

Ajanta caves, in quicktime panoramas.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2008

Oh YAY interesting India posts. Thanks amyms.

Blasphemous thought: It seems appropriate that a phallus shaped icon has melted into a puddle. *dodges lightning bolts flung by Shiva

I had a dyslexic moment and read your post as amaranth, not amarnath and wondered, huh, a cave of vegetables?

Never been to Amarnath and always wondered what it looked like. The web is neat that way, seeing things one always wanted to see but didn't.

Yup, the ancient and the modern meet often in India. Sometimes the connection is beautiful in that particularly amusing India way. And other times, like Global Warming meets ice lingham, it may be less amusing for some.

The Indian state of Kashmir used to be joined to the neighboring state, Jammu, and called Jammu and Kashmir. The wife (Maharani Tara Devi) of the king, the Maharaja of Jammu Kashmir, Hari Singh, had a wonderful little palace that was turned into a charming hotel, Taragarh, near where I studied. I used to go there once in a blue moon to take a long, luxurious bath, in the days when a bath consisted of pouring cups of tepid water over my head from a plastic bucket.

Not far from that cave in which the male part of the anatomy is honored in the form of the sacred lingham, there is another cave, in honor of the female part of the anatomy, the yoni, where pilgrims pass through in a kind of symbol of spiritual rebirth. It's called Mata (mother) Vaishnu Devi (of the god, Vishnu). Here's a link with a wonderful embedded video with Bollywood song, of pilgrims making their yatra (pilgrimage) to the cave.
posted by nickyskye at 4:08 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Blasphemous thought: It seems appropriate that a phallus shaped icon has melted into a puddle.

"It was shrinkage! It's the warm weather, I swear!" *runs & hides behind Parvati*
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:35 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

also: sweet sweet memories of bathing from out of a plastic bucket! typically, it would be the only way to get warm water in cheapo guesthouses. Rs5 a bucket, added onto the bill for the room.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:37 PM on August 16, 2008

Kangra! here's a lazy flickr link to photos of the beautiful Kangra valley.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rs5 a bucket, added onto the bill for the room.

Ah, dear Ubu, our age difference shows there. In my day it was one rupee a bucket. Used to have 10 Rupee baths at Taragarh. The old, thin servant would bring up 10 buckets, up the long stairs from the kitchen on a woodburning stove and pour the water into the cast iron tub. It was hard to get past the guilt. But after a long winter it was lovely to sit for a few minutes in the steam. ah.

Shall we savor our nostalgia over a cup of chai?
posted by nickyskye at 4:51 PM on August 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Ubu, those are heavenly photos of Kangra. Thanks for the smiling sighs.
posted by nickyskye at 6:03 PM on August 16, 2008

yes, i was just browsing them, myself. this brings back a lot of memories.

which got me thinking...
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:11 PM on August 16, 2008

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