Surrounded by fairly steep hills, the Amarnath temple is considered to be Kashmir's oldest existing temple, dating back to the 5th century. This Shiva temple is situated in a narrow gorge on the far end of Lidder Valley at an altitude of 3888 m. The 'Yatra' to Amarnath, one of the principal Hindu Dhams, starts from Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, in the month of Sawan (July to August). The temple is famous for a 'Shiva-Lingam', (a natural formation of ice, in the month of July/August) believed to wax and wane according the moon's cycle.
There is a mythological story associated with the cave of Amarnath. When Lord Shiva was narrating the secret of immortality to his wife Parvati, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and learned the secret. Repeatedly reborn, they are said to have made the cave their eternal abode. Even today, the people claim seeing the pair of doves when they trek to the ice Shivalinga. The weather is quite uncertain. Rain or snowfall may take place at any time during the Amarnath Yatra. The temperature may fall to -5 degree C.