Shiv Khori Cave

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2014

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Entrance to Shivkhori cave. It is a famous cave shrine, located in village Ransoo of Pouni block in tehsil Reasi of the Udhampur district. Steps that u see take you to cave. We went in October 2014. It is 70 kms from Katra and 140 kms from Jammu. Met number of devotees who first come here and then go to Vaishnodevi. To visit official siteClick here

Drive from Akhnoor to Shivkhori is very scenic, u see an example. This is a Valley whose name I forget.

At point when we turned right for Shivkhori is a temple, at the top of the hill is a mosque. Did not see any Muslims through the drive except from where we took the previous picture. Have noticed an inherent Muslim desire to construct a mosque close to a important Hindu temple/pilgrimage spot, seen this all over India.

Base point to start trek ie all of 3 kms. Even in October saw large number of devotees. There are hotels to stay though most have darshan and leave immediately.

Lord Shiva is worshipped in many forms. He is conceived in his unborn and invisible form as lingum. The "Shiv-Lingum" symbolizes the power behind the creation. The Holy cave is more than 150 mts long & houses 4 feet high Svayambhu Lingum, which constantly baths in a milky lime fluid dripping from the ceiling.''

It is about a one hour trek, at times does get steep. There are horses, rate is fixed. What I did was to walk for nearly 40 minutes and took a horse where the climb got steep. Road is well paved and very clean. A stream flows as we walked, very green.

Right centre of pic u can see a small hut, horses stop there after which another 5 minute climb. The cave is in the shape of Shiva''s damroo. The figures of naturally formed figurines of deities adds to the religious significance of the Holy Cave.

At base of cave a Dharamshala is made, large number of rooms. This pic is from its terrace and shows the last leg of the trek. If had the time would have loved to spend a night there, very green and cold. We stood for over an hour in line before we could enter the cave. Please plan your time accordingly.

Entrance to cave has steps. Once u enter cave the path is very narrow, at times you have to crawl/be on your knees before you reach the darshan spot. Takes 12-15 minutes and can get quite tough. A 70 year old man walked through the cave because of sheer grit and shraddha. He said ''Since Bholenath has brought me here, he will also help me enter through the cave''. To see video of inside caveClick here

For those who do not want to stand in the que and go thru tedious cave route, just climb steps that you see in pic for near instant darshan. We travelled around in hired taxi, used Bishen Sharma good guy and is based in Jammu. If you like to use his services call 9419296745, 9797350725.

Devotees from Karnataka, Hubli if I remember correctly. Dholak guy plays it for a contribution and devotees dance in joy. To see photos of the LingamClick here

This Swami sat at a temple enroute. Saw him and just loved the way he looks so decided to share pic. A 3 day annual Shivkhori Mela is held during Maha Shivaratri. Cameras not allowed inside cave. To see photos of other Shiv TemplesClick here

We reached Shivkhori at about 1 pm and returned by 5 pm. After some snacks we left for Rajouri - driver took us through villages and interior roads. It was pitch dark and were worried about safety, driver said ok just go ahead. Since Rajouri was still a while away we spent night at Naushera ie some 30 kms before. There is only one good hotel. Close by was a Temple. Went there early morning.

Overview of temple and Noushera town. All over Jammu region Rajma Rice or Roti is staple light, available at every dhaba. To see photos of Vaishno Devi Yatra Click here

Devotee reciting Ramcharitra Manas. It was this recital that woke me up at 6 am. Loved it. She recites very well. To read Travelogue on Vaishno Devi Click here

U see me at entrance to Shivkhori cave. Considered myself lucky that could go there. In between not sure if would because of hectic schedule but Shivji ka bulava came so had to fo. To visit Martand Temple in AnantnagClick here