Weather :

Timings : Summer: 5:00 AM - 7:00 PM,
Winter: 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Shivkhori, Jammu Overview

Shivkhori, a divine shrine of an avatar of Lord Shiva, is located in the lap of nature in the form of a cave on a hillock in Udhampur district in India's own Heaven on Earth, Jammu and Kashmir. The 4-foot lingam was formed naturally in a cave. This self-manifested lingam of Lord Shiva is also known as Swayambhu and is of great importance in Hindu religion. According to some, the cave is dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva, which is believed to be unborn and invisible. As one explores the cave, they experience the divine aura of this form of Lord Shiva. Shivkhori is an enchanting destination famous for its religious belief. The route inside the cave is challenging for many, and the thrill is worth experiencing as devotees are sure to feel blessed at the sight of the idol.

Devotees of Lord Shiva from all over the world visit the cave to offer their sincere prayers. The journey to the cave-shrine requires trekking over 3 kilometres of the route through the stunning mountains covered with lush greenery. The cave consists of naturally formed shapes or impressions that look like Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh, Nandi, Kartikeya, and Sheshnag. Many find these naturally formed impressions very intriguing and get drawn to this mystical location like bees to honey. The magical vibe of the cave is sure to mesmerize you, and you will want to keep coming back to Shivkhori again and again.

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Legend of Shivkhori Shrine

It is believed that a demon named Bhasmasur prayed to Lord Shiva for years and acquired a blessing that allowed him to kill anyone by only keeping his hand on their heads. Bhasmasur on getting this power wished to kill Lord Shiva. When his intentions were clear to Lord Shiva, he fled with Goddess Parvati and Nandi to save their lives. While they were on their way to a safer location, they chose to rest at Shivkhori. Bhasmasur, who was searching for Lord Shiva reached Shivkhori, and both got into violent combat which Lord Shiva won. He later decided not to kill Bhasmasur and threw his Trishul to create this cave that allowed only Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha to pass through.

After the exit of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu decided to deal with Bhasmasur and appeared in the disguise of Mohini, an enchantress. He danced gracefully to intoxicate Bhasmasur and made him ape his dance moves. Lord Vishnu ultimately put his hand over his head while he was dancing and Bhasmasur followed him and touched his own head. Thus, Bhasmasur was killed by his own power. Lord Vishnu then entered the cave created by Shiva. It is also said that 330 million Hindu deities have manifested in the Shivkhori cave.

Layout of Shivkhori Cave

The Shivkhori Cave is a 200 metre long naturally formed cave that is about three metres in height and barely a metre wide. The idol inside the cave shrine is called the Lingam which is a four foot tall naturally formed structure. The entrance of the cave is quite spacious and can accommodate about 300 people at a time.

From the entrance, an exciting passage leads to the inner chamber which is comparatively smaller. This passage has a low ceiling and little space enough to let one person pass at a time either by crawling or crouching. At one point inside the cave, the passage is divided into two. One of these passages is closed for entry now but is believed to be a way to the Swami Amarnath Cave in Kashmir.

Interiors of Shivkhori Cave

The interior walls of the Shivkhori cave shrine adorn numerous impressions that resemble Hindu deities. These impressions are all naturally formed, but the resemblance is so uncanny that it could make one think that the legend of the cave is really true. These impressions surround the self-manifested Lingam inside the inner chamber.

To the left are the impressions of the feet of Goddess Parvati, a five-headed Ganesh and Kartikeya while to the right, one can see the entire Ram Darbar with Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lakshman along with Hanuman. The ceiling of the cave adorns the six-hooded sheshnag and a Trishul.

Festivals at Shivkhori

Mahashivratri/Shivkhori Festival: Mahashivratri is one of the most important festivals celebrated at Shivkhori. It is a day to honour Lord Shiva and every year thousands of devotees visit Shivkhori to offer their prayers and to seek his divine blessings. It is a 3-day long festival and is celebrated every year in the month of February with great enthusiasm.

Navratri: Navratri is also celebrated with great devotion towards Goddess Durga and her nine forms. A yatra taken during this time is considered an auspicious one for all the devotees.

Diwali: Diwali, the festival of lights is also celebrated joyfully at Shivkhori in October or November to seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity.

Basant Panchami: Basant Panchami marks the onset of Spring and is a time to rejoice the transition from winters.

Best Time To Visit Shivkhori

The best time to visit Shivkhori Cave Shrine is between October and April as the temperature is pleasant to explore the region and trek to the cave.

Tips For Visiting Shivkhori

1. The cave passage is very narrow, and an obese person may not be able to enter it.
2. The palkhi and pony services are usually availed at a set price.
3. Visit early in the morning (preferably before 8:00 AM) to avoid the rush.
4. The climate could get very cold and chilly, carry warm clothing.
5. While trekking, carry all the trekking essentials along with a first aid kit, water and snacks.

How To Reach Shivkhori

The closest Railway Station is the Udhampur Railway Station. The nearest airport near Shivkhori is the Jammu Airport which is about 75 kilometres away from Udhampur. Visitors can avail public or private transport from the airport to reach the cave.

Pony or Palkhi Services are available from the base to the cave. Visitors can also trek through the mountains clad with lush green forests from Ranso, Reasi to reach the breathtaking cave of Shivkhori. Trekkers walk a distance of about 3.5 kilometres to reach the cave shrine.

Helicopter services have also been made available from Katra which takes around 20 minutes to reach the Shivkhori Shrine. 

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