Jammu and Kashmir has many pilgrimages places like Amarnath, Vasihnodevi, Baba Dhansar etc. One of them is Shiv Khori ( Khori means cave ) in the Ranso Village of Udhampur district, Jammu. Though not much talked about but it has one of the best natural caves and naturally developed idols of gods. We happened to visit Shiv Khodi last month on our trip to Vasihno Devi this month.
Distance :It is about 140 Kms from Jammu and if you are planning to visit from Katra its only 84 Km which is like 4 hours of drive.
How to reach : Shiva Khroi is well connected by roads from Jammu and National Highway also can be taken when you travel. The road to Shiv Khori is still under development after which the duration should cut to 2 hrs.
Mythological History: Shiva Khori was basically the Lord Shiva’s Hideout. He granted a wish to one of the demon King Bhasmasura, that whatever he touches will turn into ashes. The demon king happy with the wish started killing all gods one after the other.
Afraid of his deeds, one of gods provoked him to kill Lord Shiva himself and when Lord Siva came to knew about it ran from him and took a hide in these mountains.
How Shiva Khori was found ?
Shiva Khori was accidently found by Shepard when they came around for looking their lost sheep and they discovered this cave.
Once you reach Siva Khori, You will have to hire a horseman and a Pandit or guide who can tell you about the cave in detail. There are lot of information that you will miss out if you dont have the guide with you. It will take you around 40 minutes to each the cave of which you will have to walk around 179 staircases which would be little difficult but worth it. There is even an official Shrine Board of ShivKhori which takes care of maintains the road and temple and has an official collection of pictures of inside the cave
Getting inside the cave is itself a thrill, Like Vaishno Devi, it has a narrow entrance but if you have enough courage and faith passing through it is not a problem. You might feel little uneasy but stay strong. Once inside you will find the stairs to get straight up to Lord Shiva, Natural formation of shivlingum.
Inside the cave you will find natural impression on rocks which would resemble Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, river Ganga, Lord Ganesh, Nandigan etc.
Few things you should know about Siva Khodi Cave :
- This was a hide out place for Lord Shiva.
- It was guarded by SheshNaag of which you can see the impression on the rocks of his huge snake head.
- The river in this area is called as Doodh Ganga as it turns white during day of Maha Shivratri.
- There are two path in the same cave, One which leads to Swarga or heaven according to Mythological sayings and other one leads straight to Amarnaath.
- This is one of the temple where gods are present in 100% natural formation.
Though ShivaKhori is not a very popular pilgrimage place to visit but it has its own importance and is a wonderful place to visit once in a life time.
PS: The descriptions provided here are out of my persoanl experience and information which the Pandit told us. So If you are looking for something more I would suggest you to please get in touch with Shrine Board and their members.