Shiv Khori – The Cave of Bliss
I decided to visit the internal areas of India this time as I was more onto knowing the intrigue called Indian locations and the excitement called Indian travel.
So I set to go with my friends to the district of Reasi where I wanted to visit the cave of Shiv Khori. This is located in a village called Ransoo and is a great tourist attraction. Located in between two hills, this place is around 140 km from Jammu and around 120 km from the district of Udhampur. We went up to Ransoo and then we traveled by foot to reach he cave. The track has been developed by the Shrine Board of Shiv Khori.
Khori means a cave or a gufa and Shiv Khori means a cave for Lord Shiva or a cave that belongs to Lord Shiva. This is a natural cave and is around 200 meters long, around 1metre in width and approximately three meters high. It is believed to have a lingam that has come up on its own. This lingam is unending and keeps growing. The entry to the cave is wide enough to allow around 300 people at a time. Then the inner chambers get smaller in width.
There is a passage between the inner and the outer chambers. This passage is quite small and low and we had to bend to go inside. It actually bifurcates into two in the passage and it is said that one leads to Kashmir where the cave of the Swami Amarnath is located. Today this opening is however closed as it has been seen that whoever went into the cave from this fork never came back. So we finally reached the sanctum sanctorum of the cave and we stooped so low and crawled into the entry. We had to adjust our body a lot and we turned backward and sideward to reach the place. As we entered we saw a lovely image of the Lord Shiva and the height was around 4 m. There were many natural substances here inside the cave. There were sculptures resembling Goddess Parvati, Nandi and Lord Ganesha. There were lot of formations like snake within the cave on the roof and there was water trickling from these snakes like formations on the lingam. There were many pigeons here and the Swami Amar Nath cave is aid to be a good omen for all the pilgrim travels.
It is said that once there was a demon called Bhasmasura. He prayed to Lord Shiva and asked for a boon wherein he could end anyoneâ€™s life. The moment Lord Shiva gave him this blessing; the demon tried it on the Lord himself. So Lord Shiva had to run to protect himself from being killed by the demon. It is believed that Lord Shiva entered this cave and dressed as Mohini and asked the demon to dance with her. When the demon danced totally mesmerized by the beauty of Mohini there was this one action Mohini showed wherein she placed her hand on her head. Bhasmasura in total folly did the same thus ending his own life. Legend has it that there are around 33 deities living in this cave and they are represented in the form of the pindis with natural milky water that falls on them.
There is also another legend which says how a Muslim shepherd discovered this cave and he went searching for a goat which was missing. He got quite surprised to see many saints inside the cave and they were worshipping lord Shiva. Completely enthralled the shepherd also did the same. Then the shepherd went and told this to the villagers nearby. Thus the word spread and people began to revere this cave a lot.
The Shiv Khori shrine came to be popular only around 50 years back. The pilgrim travelers in earlier times were only a few thousands but today the Shiv Khori cave has become a famous tourist destination and there are many people going there now. People like to attend the fair that is held here on the day of Maha Shivratri and many pilgrims come here for the mela or fair. Guest houses and other facilities are being made by the Shiv Khori Shrine Board now to attract all the tourists. Besides there are facilities like medicinal institutions, electrification of the cave, provision of oxygen and exhaust fan facilities etc that are being done and implemented to make it a better tourist locale. Many plants are being planted and there is work that is going on a 3 km long track that is going to make traveling convenient here. Also facilities of a clock room, a water reservoir, and arrangements for better sanitation are looked into. Shelter sheds on the way to the shrine from Ransoo, an electric transformer and also proper bus service from Udhampur, Katra and Jammu are making the place a much visited spot today.
With a lot more to give and very little to take from you, The Shiv Khori Shrine is a must see spot in India.