The Shivalingam at Amarnath in Jammu, which stood 12 feet tall even till June 18, has now reportedly shrunk to 4 feet. And the reason, claims the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), is global warming.
The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims at this time of the year. In fact, although the pilgrimage officially starts on Saturday, helicopter services to the shrine started about a week ago.
But SASB chief executive Arun Kumar fears the Shivalingam is now “melting due to global warming”.
“The Shivalingam was 12- foot-long when I visited the shrine on June 9. But now, it’s thinned to a large extent. The reason is global warming,” Kumar said. “It is difficult to say how much has melted. All I can say is that the decrease is substantial and it is because of global warming,” he added.
Vijay Kumar, who runs a beauty shop in Jammu, too claimed that when he had visited the shrine on Thursday, the Shivalingam had stood four feet tall.
In order to check this reduction in the Shivalingam’s size, the SASB had planned to install cooling devices and an air-curtain at the shrine. But these plans had to be dropped after the state high court ruled that no artificial measures could be undertaken to maintain the Shivalingam’s size.
The SASB had come under attack last year for placing dry ice at the cave. So much so, that both the locals and the media had alleged that the Shivalingam was man-made
The SASB chairman, Governor SK Sinha, had then appointed retired high court judge KK Gupta to probe the charge. Gupta had given a clean chit to the shrine board.
Kumar said, “We will not interfere with the natural process this time around.”