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Ice 'lingam' at Amarnath shrine melts

August 23, 2004 17:18 IST

The ice lingam at the Amarnath cave shrine has melted much before the scheduled arrival of the holy mace (Chhari Mubarak) on August 30.

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The holy lingam (phallic symbol of Shiva) at the shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas melted 10 days back, Chief Executive Officer (Ecology), Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, Arun Kumar told PTI.

Accusing the state goverment of delaying the transfer of land for preserving the ice lingam, Kumar said its preservation could not be undertaken by the Defence Research and Development Organisation this year.

Kumar said the state government had "failed to reply to our demands on land, road and infrastructure."

The melting of the holy lingam has disappointed thousands of pilgrims who visit the shrine every year, a spokesman of the Hotels and Restaurants Association said.

Increase in temperatures inside the cave where the lingam forms due to rush of pilgrims, use of cameras and burning of incense sticks is responsible for the lingam's melt-down.

Abdul Lateef Dewa, Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam Development Authority, said nearly 2.7 lakh pilgrims had darshan of the holy lingam this year.

Amarnath cave, where the lingam is formed, is situated in a narrow gorge at the far end of the Lidder valley at an altitude of 3,888 meters.

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