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Jun 18, 2013 at 12:26pm IST

Amarnath Shiv lingam's size shrinks to half of what it was 5 weeks ago

Jammu: It's just a week for the Amarnath Yatra to begin in Jammu. Lakhs of devotees throng the icy mountain shrine every year. Network18 has got exclusive footage from inside the cave showing that the Shiv lingam has shrunk to half its size due to rising temperatures. The lingam, according to Srinagar's Met office, may further shrink owing to the excessive heat in the two weeks.

Sonam Lotus, Director of the Srinagar Met department said, "Srinagar is slightly more warmer than it should have been. That has resulted in snows in heights in and around Sonmarg melting at a faster rate. Moreover, less amount of snow had accumulated this year than previous years."

This year's Amarnath Yatra begins from June 28 for roughly 52 days. Met officials believe that if there is no respite from the heat, many pilgrims would have to be content with the trek and return without the darshan of the icy stalgamite formation.

Human warmth and a number of chopper sorties over these mountains, too, have accounted for quick melting times. Only a few years ago, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board authorities had to face fire from devotees when artificial ice was packed near the sanctum santorum to prolong the life of this seasonal lingam.