Shiv Khori is an exciting and adventurous destination with an interesting story. Not only for devotees but also for tourists. Located about 110 km from Jammu in Ransoo village. Lord Shiva’s Trishul created this cave in the mountain. It is believed the cave ends in Amarnath, though it is now sealed after about 130 meters.
Shiv Khori Darshan and Aarti Timings by Shiv Khori Shrine Board
Temple Timings: 7 AM to 5 PM
Aarti Timings: Morning – 7 AM to 8 AM & Evening – 7 PM to 8 PM
Due to the current situation of COVID, only 500 devotees can visit the cave per day. 400 devotees from Jammu-Kashmir and 100 from other states can visit the cave every day.
How to Reach Shiv Khori
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi, about 110 km from Ransoo.
The nearest airport is Jammu Airport, about 120 km from Ransoo.
Katra to Shiv Khori distance is about 75 km from Ransoo.
You can reach the Cave after a 3 km trek from Ransoo. A good walking track is available for Yatris and the walk is not difficult.
Best Time to Visit Shiv Khori
It is possible to visit Shiv Khori all throughout the year. But the best time to visit Shiv Khori is during the Mahashivratri festival in February/March. You can also consider October to April as the best time. As weather is pleasant during these months at Shiv Khori.
The Story of Shiv Khori
In the ancient days, a demon named Bhasmasur was granted a boon by Lord Shiva. With that boon, Bhasmasur became invincible. He was able to kill anyone by placing his hand on that person’s head. Bhasmasur was also a very foolish demon. He became proud of his powers and decided to kill Lord Shiva!
With this intention, he began looking for Mahadev and went to Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva had no option but to flee. Lord Shiva left Kailash along with Mata Parvati and Ganeshji. They proceeded in the southern direction with Bhasmasur chasing Him. Lord Shiva stopped to rest at a place which is now known as Shiv Khori.
There Bhasmasur found Lord Shiva and a fierce battle took place. To escape, Lord Shiva threw His Trishul at the mountain. A cave was created which only Lord Shiva, Mata Parvati, and Ganeshji could enter. They vanished into the cave, but Bhasmasur could not enter. He decided to wait outside. He did not know that the cave was almost 300 km long.
Lord Shiva had exited the cave in a place now known as Amarnath. When Bhasmasur was waiting, Lord Vishnu came along in the form of Mohini, a beautiful dancer. By His dance moves, Lord Vishnu tricked Bhasmasur into placing his hand on his own head! That was the end of the foolish demon, who died by his own hand. Lord Vishnu then entered the cave and 33 crore Devi-Devtas of Sanatan Dharma entered with Him.
After this event, the cave was not known to anyone. Only Rishis and Sadhus used the cave for meditation. Thousands of years later a shepherd discovered this cave. They found a natural Shivling inside along with various images on the walls. News spread like wildfire and the cave go famous as Shiv Khori. It was soon one of the most important pilgrimages.
Inside the Shiv Khori Cave
People believe that the cave is long till the Amarnath Cave. Moreover, locals believe it is about 500 meters long, but devotees can go only upto 130 meters due to lack of oxygen.
Many years back some sadhus tried to venture in but were never heard of again. The cave is about 20 feet wide at the entrance and at the end. Between is a narrow passage. At some points, only one person can crawl through. The opening is 22 feet wide, 20 feet high, and 80 feet long. After that comes a narrow passage leading to the sanctum.
A natural (Swayambhu) four-foot Shivling is here. Besides the Shivling, there are Mata Parvati’s footprints. You can see naturally formed images depicting Trishul, Pranava(AUM), Kartikeya Swami, Lord Ganesh, Sheshnag, and Ram Darbar. There is Kamdhenu above the Shivling. It is impossible to describe the Divine and Spiritual energy of the cave.
Mahashivratri Celebrations at Shiv Khori
Manashivratri is one of the major festivals celebrated here with great enthusiasm. This three-day long festival also includes a Mela. Thousands of devotees from all over the country attend this mela.
Nearby places of interest from Shiv Khori
There are several other temples and places of interest nearby. One can visit Vaishno Devi, Dhansar Baba Shrine, Dera Baba Banda Bahadur, and Bhimgarh Fort.