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Friday, June 29, 2007

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Pilgrims flock Amarnath to have glimpse of melting lingam

Amarnath Holy Cave, June 28: Thousands of pilgrims flocked to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath today to have a glimpse of the ice 'Shivalingam', which has shrunk dramatically over the past few days and may disappear soon due to rising temperature.

Hundreds and thousands of unregistered devotees have so far paid obeisance at the holy cave shrine ahead of the official commencement of the two-month-long Amarnath pilgrimage from June 30.

Reople have started early to catch a glimpse of the ice Shivalingam (the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva), which would not last too long as per the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB).

''I was supposed to undertake pilgrimage in mid-July and had got the registration done. But, I decided to start early after the news came that the ice-lingam had started melting and may disappear soon due to rise in temperature within the periphery of the holy cave shrine of Amarnath,'' said Deepak, a devotee from Chandigarh.

However, for some it is the faith which draws them to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath every year.

''The cave shrine is the revered place. Ice-lingam can sometimes melt early, but that does not deprive the place of its significance or importance,'' said Ravindra from Uttarakhand.

Holy cave shrine Director M K Raina had yesterday said the 'ice-lingam' was twelve-and-a-half feet in height and eight feet in circumference on May 25.

However, the 'lingam' has ''dramatically'' shrunk and reduced to one-tenth of its size now, he added.

The SASB has said the ''unusual'' and ''dramatic'' melting of the ice 'Shivalingam' ahead of the commencement of the pilgrimage from June 30 was a ''big disappointment''.

UNI was the first to report that the ice 'Shivalingam' (the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva) had started melting due to significant rise in temperature within the periphery of the holy cave shrine.

A team of journalists, which visited the shrine today, could easily see the 'ice-lingam' melting.

The devotees who visited the cave shrine today considered themselves ''very lucky and among the chosen ones'' to see the 'Shivalingam'.

''I thank the Lord for allowing me to have a 'darshan (glimpse)' of the 'lingam'. Going by its present shape and size, I don't think the ice-lingam will last long,'' said Manoj Kumar, a pilgrim.

Even the shrine board, headed by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha, said the 'ice-lingam' would not last long.

''It is too warm in the shrine vicinity. The premature melting due to rise in temperature is somewhat unusual,'' said SASB Chief Executive Officer Dr Arun Kumar.

He said global warming was one of the major factors for early melting of the 'Shivalingam'.

A UNI report from Baltal on Monday quoted a pilgrim, Surinder Kumar, as having said that the 'ice-lingam' was melting due to rising temperature in the cave vicinity.

The pilgrim had returned from the holy cave shrine on Sunday after having the glimpse of the 'lingam'.

Mr Kumar, who along with three others had paid obeisance at the shrine on June 23, said the 'ice-lingam' could melt further if there was no change in the unusual above normal temperatures.

--- UNI

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This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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