Jammu: Naturally formed ice lingam of Lord Shiva in Amarnath
cave shrine in South Kashmir has totally melted, official sources revealed on Monday.
"The holy ice lingam does not exist any more as it
melted totally on July 29", official sources told PTI.
The pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine, situated at a height of 13,500 feet, started July 1 and will end Aug 25. The board`s official data collection centre has recorded four lakh pilgrim arrivals in just a period of one month.
The figure is expected to touch 600,000 - at least 100,000 more than last year`s arrivals, which was the highest. The shrine, which houses an icy stalagmite that is a symbol of Hindu Lord Shiva, saw 500,000 pilgrims arriving last year.
The shrine board members had earlier said the melting of lingam was a natural phenomenon and the board had nothing to do with it.
The Shiv Lingam, which at its best achieves a height of 12 feet, lasted just 32 days this year. The authorities had last year put a grill around the naturally formed Shiv Lingam, at the 3,880-metre high cave shrine, to slow down its melting allegedly due to human activities in and around the cave.
A controversy had also erupted in 2007 after devotees alleged that the Shiv Lingam in the cave had been tampered with.