“The famous Amarnath Yatra which leads to the cave is of great religious significance to the Hindus. However, according to folklore, its discovery dates back many years when the sacred cave of Amarnath was first supposedly discovered by a Muslim shepherd from Batakot. The shepherd, Buta Malik, stumbled upon the sacred spot after his flock strayed amidst the mountains. Over time, the shrine of Amarnath has become a holy pilgrimage that attracts people from all over the country. It is said that the family of Buta Malik, the man credited with the discovery of the caves, stays in Batakot till now. As per reports, the shepherd took shelter in the cave where a Sufi saint gave him a Kangri, a small pot filled with burning coal that is held close to the body to keep it warm. When he went home, he saw that the pot of coal had turned into a pot of gold. Overjoyed, he went back to the cave to thank the saint. But instead, he found only the cave and the Shiva Linga. As per a report in The Indian Express, his descendants were the custodians of the shrine for a long time. However, now it is looked after by the Amarnath Shrine Board headed by the Governor of the state.”
The folklore of Buta Malik is being told by his descendants and local Kashmiris, the legend is an amalgamation of Hindu religious traditions and its relation to local Kashmiri Muslim population. It creates a perfect picture of Hindu Muslim unity where Kashmiri Muslims are protectors and discoverers of a shrine which Hindus worship. As a local folklore its good to have such stories told (like various other folk stories in India). The problem arises when such stories are mainstreamed by eminent historians and celebrated liberals as a historical fact.
The fake story of the discovery of Amarnath caves was so superficial that a few internet searches can bust this lie, as many texts available have mentioned this pilgrimage, which proves it to be an ancient tradition and has continued uninterrupted till today. Instead of accepting the truth our liberals fabricated another lie that the caves were “rediscovered” by the shepherd boy in 1850s after a natural calamity which led this pilgrimage to discontinue.
The pilgrimage to Amarnath caves is an old tradition mentioned in Kalhana’s Rajtaringini, Nilmat Puran, Ain-e-Akbari, accounts of Francois Bernier, and many more. The mentions in aforesaid texts establish the fact that the tradition is an ancient one and has both religious and historical importance. But citing these texts doesn’t serve the purpose of busting this myth since the folklore of Buta Malik is dated around 1850, hence I will produce excerpts only from writings of travellers who travelled Kashmir from 1830’s till 1870’s to find out if any such story is mentioned in books or accounts of such travellers. The texts I have used are:-
- Journals kept in Hyderabad, Kasmir, Sikkim and Nepal by Sir Richard Temple (published in 1887) a Britisher who travelled Kashmir twice, in 1859 and 1871
- Travels in Kashmir and The Panjab, A Particular account of the government and character of the Sikhs, (Printed IN 1845) by a German traveller Baron Charles Hugel (originally printed in German)
- Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo, by G T Vigne vol 1 and vol 2 (printed in 1844) an Englishman who travelled Kashmir extensively and has beautifully described life and times of Kashmir.
Baron Charles Hugel and Godfrey Thomas Vigne both travelled in the year 1835 and in his book Hugel has many times described his meeting with G T Vigne on various occasions. Surprisingly, Baron Charles Hugel does mention a Malik boy being his guide to the peak of a mountain and the place of boy’s residence is same as claimed by Malik descendants today. During his meeting with Malik of Banderpoor GT Vigne too was present.
The travelogues I cited also counter the lie that the Yatra was ever interrupted due to famine or any other natural calamity and that the caves were later on rediscovered by a shepherd named ‘Buta Malik”. I have used aforementioned travelogues to put forward the truth behind the claims which are mainly
- Amarnath caves were discovered/re-discovered by Buta Malik
- His descendants are protectors of the shrine.
- if any such person named “Buta Malik” ever existed.
Various excerpts from travelogue between 1830’s and 1870’s are as follows: –
Journals kept in Hyderabad, Kasmir, Sikkim and Nepal by Sir Richard Temple
Diary of a Journey into Jammu and Kashmir between 8th June and 8th July 1859
While describing Anantnag he wrote in his diary on June 19th 1859 “…I was told there were some six or seven hundred liris, or families, which at the rate of five to a family, would give a population of from 3,000 to 4,000 souls; but in this, as in other parts of Kashmir, there had not been any census up to that time. There is a fair-shawl manufacture carried on, but beyond this, there is no trade worth mentioning. The environs are pretty, and we had a lovely view of the snowy hills bounding the broad valley which leads up to Amarnath, the famous place of pilgrimage”
June 20th 1859 “After breakfast we went out, as the weather had cleared, to visit Martand. At first, the road wound around the Islamabad hill, for about five miles, commanding a nice of the valley leading to Amarnath. Then we reached the village of Matan or Bawan, which is remarkable for its sacred tank, formed by a spring gushing up from the ground, and filled with little fishes innumerable.”
July 3rd1859 “I arrived at Islamabad by four in the afternoon, having started at ten the previous night. That evening I rode on to Lukhbawan, about nine miles on the Vernag road. The hills of Amarnath, of the Wardwan Valley, and of the Kishtwar Range could be jar better seen than from Islamabad.”
Diary of a Journey into Jammu and Kashmir between 9th April and 5th May 1871
April 20th1871 “…Tile curtain suddenly falls again, and all is comparative darkness; but in a moment it rises, and a far-off group of snowy peaks is visible, with a blue background; then again the curtain falls, and once more it is all darkness. Thus it was for some time, and the effect on the eye was quite fascinating. The grand, sacred, snow-clad mount of Amarnath, distant some fifty miles and more, seen in this way, -a picture in a framework of mist and clouds-had a wonderful appearance.”
April 21st1871 “During the day, there was an amusing discussion about Amarnath Mountain, in the eternal snow, in a cavern of which pious Hindus have a celebrated pilgrimage-resort. Wazir Pannun, being a gentleman of the old school, said that every year at that spot there was framed, by supernatural agency, imitations in the ice of the linga, the well-known phallic emblem of the Hindus. However, Pandit Bhadrinath, a man of the new school, with a tincture of education, said that no doubt the lingas were there, as attested yearly by the enraptured gaze of thousands of pilgrims, but they arose from natural causes-being simply icicles assuming a particular form, as was the case in many countries. Pandit Bhadrinrith’s explanation, probably the true one, seemed to cause much displeasure to Wazir Pannun.”
The above excerpt needs a special mention because wazir punnu was the governor of Kashmir under Gulab Singh and pandit Badrinath a high ranking official, in the conversation both, were talking of Amarnath caves but discuss no such legend of “Buta Malik”.
April 28th1871 “I passed by Verang without stopping and made straight for the Banihal pass. When I reached the ridge I found the horizon still cloudless, and had a superb view of the Amarnath Range; this being the best view of that range obtainable anywhere.”
Travels in Kashmir and the Panjab, A Particular account of the Government and character of the Sikhs,(Printed in 1845) From the German of Baron Charles Hugel.
While describing Maliks, Hugel says
“The place of Malik of Kashmir, first appointed by Akbar, was formerly one of considerable power and influence, and the Malik was almost independent, being subject only to the authority of the distant Emperor of Delhi. By degrees, this place has sunk into insignificance, although the present officer, living on the borders of the yet unconquered Ahmed Shah’s territory, is a person of some consequence, his office would speedily be suppressed altogether if Ranjit Singh were to seize on Iskardu. The Maliks were intended to keep watch on the frontiers; but as Ranjit has already extended his dominions on every side beyond them, this single conquest would render the office quite superfluous. There are nominally 500 armed men in the district of Banderpoor; but here, as in most places about the country, famine and sickness have so depopulated the town, that the Malik could not muster the half of that number. Henderson travelled through this pass, but he did not praise the reception given him by the Malik, nor could he expect anything better in such a garb as his. He ought to have taken the coldness of his reception as a compliment to the skill with which he played the part of a fakir.”
Malik is not a surname but a title (given by Akbar) which stuck to descendants of Malik of Kashmir who was appointed by Akbar to keep watch on frontiers, so the current malik claiming protectors of the shrine can be considered as a half-truth, they were watchkeepers of the whole frontier. But they lost their grip by early nineteenth century when Kashmir was under control of Ranjit Singh and was limited to one village (mentioned by Hugel) by the 1830’s. The names of villages mentioned by both Hugel and present descendants of Malik have some striking similarities.
Sunday, December 6 1835.-“My attendants were indefatigable in keeping up a good fire during the night; and whenever I waked, I saw the Indians seated about it, and doing their best to maintain the heat on the side where I was lying. We began our preparations for departure at dawn ; and yesterday’s lesson made me cautious in choosing a horse for the mountains, provided with a saddle-cloth instead of the more picturesque but very inconvenient saddle of Turkistan, which, at best, is only adapted to a level country: Malik’s son was deputed to be our guide. We commenced our journey by several steep mountains inferior only to the Pir Panjal, to a height which is reckoned to be 4000 feet; here we first entered the pine forests. Through these, we continued 1000 feet further until we stopped at a narrow slip of level ground, which was scarped perpendicularly on either side. At 6000 feet we could distinguish the highest summits of the Nanenwara mountain before us. We had still 1000 feet to climb. The ascent was made on horseback until we were within 300 feet of the top, and thus far I observed the juniper and saxifrage growing, but the peaks were quite destitute of vegetation, and in the clefts, snow was still lying in small quantities. I never shall forget the cold I felt on the summit of that mountain. The north wind cut my face as with a knife, and my very bones seemed turned to ice; my thermometer, notwithstanding, was not lower than 31deg. All around me was an utter desolation, not a living creature, not a tree, nor sign of vegetation, as far as the eye could reach. Nought else in fact but rocks and ice, and masses of snow-clouds. I had brought everything necessary to kindle a fire, that I might ascertain the boiling point; and while they were preparing it under rock 100 feet below the highest peak, I ascended it again to look around me. Diamril, or Nangaparvat, the highest of the chain, rises out of it like a vast pyramid and was now veiled in clouds, showing little more than its prodigious base. This bounded the prospect towards the N.N.W. and N.E.; further west and W.S.W. the Gosieh mountains stretch to the Baramulla chain, and beyond this again was the snowy ridge which joins the Hindu Kush. Southwards and S.W. lay the valley, only distinguished by 3 low stripes of mist, above which appeared the snowy peaks of Pir Panjal, which seemed to form but one part of the great Panjal of Tibet. Between 34deg and 35deg of latitude, the air is generally most transparent, and this, together with the great elevation of my present position, may account for the apparently interminable distance to which the view reached. Towards the S.W. the prospect was bounded by the Pir Panjal: of course, the Indian plain beyond it cannot be reached by the naked eye. In every other direction, mountains towering above mountains were seen to an immense distance.”
Mentioned above is the only excerpt which says something about a malik boy who climbed a mountain range (not Amarnath) with Baron Charles Hugel.
Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo, by G T Vigne vol 1
While describing passes in Kashmir Vigne describes Amarnath pass & period of its opening as
While writing about Gangabul, Vigne writes
Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo, by G T Vigne Vol 2
“A stream descends from it to Palgam, and there joins the Lidur, which comes rattling down the larger valley on the right, at the end of which are seen the snowy mountains on the way to Umur Nath.”
“The ceremony at the cave of Umur Nath* takes place on the 15th of the Hindu month Sawun (28thof July). Previously to that day not only the Hindus of Kashmir, but those from Hindustan, of every rank and caste, may be seen collecting together, and travelling- up the valley of the Lidur towards this celebrated cave,—which, from his description, must have been the place that Bernier intended to visit, but was prevented.”
Vigne’s description of Amarnath caves “The last encamping-place of the pilgrims is an elevated plain, distant one day’s march from the Shisha Nag; after which they cross another ridge, and descend to Umur Nath. A vast multitude of men, women, and children advance towards the cave, at an hour appointed by the attendant, the Brahmins first divesting themselves of all clothing, excepting some pieces of birch-bark which do duty for fig-leaves. The cave is of gypsum (I am in possession of specimens brought thence), and shaped like a divided cone, facing to the south, and being (so I was informed) about 30 yards in height, and 15 or 20 in depth. I rather believe that there are stalactites in it and that large icicles are formed from them, so as to connect the bottom of the cave with the roof. When the pilgrims arrive there they commence shouting, clapping their hands, and calling upon the Deity (Siva). Asra durshun payareh—” Show yourself to us,” is the universal and simultaneous exclamation and prayer of prostrate thousands. The cave is much frequented by rock pigeons, who are affrighted by the noise, rush out tumultuously, and are the answer to the prayer. In the body of one or other of these, resides the person of their divinity, and Shur or Siva, the destroyer, and the all-powerful are considered to be present and incarnate as the harmless dove. If there happens to be no pigeon in the cave at the time, the pilgrims are much disappointed.”
the above excerpts not only describes the importance of Amarnath for Hindus but also the continuity of the pilgrimage to the shrine. One important aspect of all three travelogues is that though written by three different travellers, they all observe the importance of Amarnath to Hindus, yet in none of the accounts, the story as we hear today is mentioned. we know as a fact that pilgrimage to Amarnath caves is as old as humanity….it has survived nature’s fury, medieval Islamic period and terrorists in independent India because of the sheer grit of Hindus, who despite all difficulties, climb those terrains. It’s their devotion to Lord Shiva which has maintained its identity for centuries. Sadly our liberals always find a way to appropriate things according to their whims, this time they didn’t even spare barfani baba, they had to fake a story to propagate their secular “Ganga Jamuna” culture. Such attempts by liberals to create their own version of facts is distasteful, earlier too they did it with Krishna moon painting which was later proved to be a deliberate propagated lie. They will not stop appropriating symbols of Hindu significance according to their idea of secularism. They must keep this simple thought in mind “Peaceful coexistence doesn’t come from deliberate lies, it’s the truth that unites people.”
 In journals by Sir Richard Temple on Kashmir, page 34
 Ibid, page 35
 Ibid, page 77
 Ibid, page 113
 Ibid, page 115-116
 Ibid, page 129
 Travels in Kashmir and The Panjab, A Particular account of the government and character of the Sikhs,(Printed in 1845) by Baron Charles Hugel, page 165
 Ibid, page 165-166
 Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo, by G T Vigne vol 1, page no. 148
 Ibid, page no. 295
 Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo, by G T Vigne Vol 2, Page 7
 Ibid, Page 7-8
 Ibid, Page 10-11