Located at a distance of around 80 km from Katra, the base of Vaishno Devi Yatra, Shiv Khori is a holy cave that houses a naturally formed ‘Shivaling’ (the power behind all creations). The very well known cave shrine of Shiv Khori is one of the most respected shrines of the region which is visited by the devotees of Lord Shiva in huge numbers every year. The cave is around 150 meters in length and the Swayambhu Lingam that it features is 4 feet in height. A milky fluid drips on its own from the ceiling and offering Abhishekam to the Shivlinga. On the left side of the Linga, the foot impressions of Ma Parvati can be seen. On the same side, there is an impression of Kartikeya, the first son of Lord and Devi. Right above the lingam, an impression of 5 headed Ganesha, their second son can also be seen. It is believed that all the images and impressions of all Hindu deities (33 Crore) and related objects like Trishul (the Trident of the Lord), Sheshnag (Snake God with six heads) etc are all naturally formed. The roof of the cave also has an impression of Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshan Chakra. One can also spot the images of Lord Rama, his consort Devi Sita, his brother Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman. As you step inside the cave, feel the mystery, spirituality and tranquility spread all around.
According to the legend, Bhasmasur, a demon meditated for Lord Shiva for several years. The Lord was happy from him and offered him a boon that he now had the ability to end anyone’s life just by place his palm on their heads. After obtaining the boon from the Lord, wrong intentions come up in his mind and he decided to end Lord’s life. To save himself and his consort Parvati, they hide themselves in this cave. At this point of time, Lord Vishnu takes the guise of beautiful apsara Mohini. He lures the demon to dance with her and like her. As they both start dancing exactly the same, Mohini kept her palm above her head and the demon did the same. In this manner, the demon took his life.
The cave temple of Shiv Khori bustles with activity during its 3-day Mela (festival) that is organized at the time of Maha Shivratri (February-March). The festival is attended by thousands of Lord’s devotees from all around. The cave shrine is placed on a hillock in village Ransoo and is accessible after a small trek. It is also said that this cave directly leads to the cave of Amarnath and a sage in Baba Ramesgiri had covered this journey during his lifetime.