The Amarnath Yatra is organized every year by the J & K Govt. during the month of sharavan ( July and August). Times of India reports that unprecedented rush of devotees at the Amarnath cave has melted 10 days before the yatra formally ends. Use of camera flashes, burning of agarbathies and other human interferences were responsible for the premature melting of the ‘Lingam’.
The Amarnath cave, in which the Lingam is formed, is situated in a narrow gorge at the far end of the Lidder valley at an altitude of 3,888 metres. Temperature here is always at sub-zero level.
In less than a month, nearly 600,000 pilgrims have so far performed the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath, officials said. Authorities say the increased number of pilgrim rush and high temperatures in Kashmir over the past few weeks can be attributed to the premature melting of the ‘Lingam’.
The early melting of the ‘Ice Lingam’ is not a new phenomenon as in 2007 the ice stalagmite melted away completely. In 2006, the Amarnath Shrine Board was embroiled in a huge controversy as it was alleged that to keep the yatra going, authorities dumped ice over the original ‘Lingam’ as at the very start of the ‘yatra’ size of the ‘Shiva Lingam’ was very small.