Notwithstanding the claims of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board that the Shiva lingam at the holy cave shrine in South Kashmir has not formed this year due to global warming, weather officials on Monday said the temperature in Kashmir valley have been below normal for much of the summer this year.
The temperatures in May and June this year have been mostly two to three degrees below normal. The day temperature was two degrees above normal for June 1 and 2 but night temperatures continued to be normal or below, Director, Meteorology Department, LC Ram said.
He said intermittent rains and snowfall in upper reaches of Kashmir valley have ensured that the temperatures have stayed below normal for most part of the summer.
The temperatures have been below two to three degrees since June 3 this year, he added.
Absence or formation of only a small shiva lingam, a phallic symbol of lord Shiva, is not a new phenomenon but stacking of snow in its place this year has ruffled many a feather among devotees who undertake an ardous trekk to the cave shrine to get a darshan.
The shrine Board spokesman said the langarwallah (community kitchen operator) might have stacked snow as the cave was unguarded for most of the year and the Board took over the arrangement only at the time of the yatra.
However, file photos of the holy cave show that a grill was placed to secure the area in which the lingam was formed few years ago.
Terming the controversy as a 'direct assault' on Hinduism, leader of the Baba Amarnath Yatra Nyas Sudarshan Gupta urged the authorities to enquire into and involve religious heads in the probe.
Rajinder Sharma, National President of Shri Amarnath Yatra Welfare Organisation held the state Governor responsible for allegedly creating the 'artificial lingam' in the cave.
In Jammu, VHP and BJP asked authorities to dispel the controversy surrounding the formation of the Lingam in the shrine in the South Kashmir Himalayas.