In a fateful turn of events, it has been found out that the pious Shivling at Amarnath melted before time this year, nearly 34 days beforehand. The yatra started on 2nd July and was to culminate on 30th August. However, within mere 15 days into the yatra, the ice Shivling melted.
This came as quite a shocking news to the yatris since this special event occurs only once a year. The Amarnath Shrine Board confirmed that the lingam, an ice stalagmite that was particularly well-formed this year and stood at a height of 15 feet, melted completely before time.
This premature melting has been attributed to the heat generated inside the cave due to the presence of record number of pilgrims.
According to the official data, there has been around 6.15lakh pilgrims so far this year while the unofficial count may supersede that amount to an obnoxious 7 lakh pilgrims. Besides, in Kashmir over the course of past few weeks have also played their parts in melting the stalagmite formed naturally inside a cave situated in the Greater Himalayan Range of West Kashmir at a height of 3,880 meters.
According to Preet Pal Singh, the additional chief executive officer of the Amarnath Shrine Board:
“Early melting of the lingam is not unusual. In 2007, it had melted by July 2. Last year, it was gone by around July 30. This is a natural phenomenon and it will not dampen the spirit of the devotees.