Several newspapers and television channels are reporting that the holy Ice Shiva Lingam that formed in 2008 at the Amarnath Cave Shrine has melted completely. The melting of the holy Ice Shivalinga before the final prayer on Shravan Purnima also happened in 2007. The original pilgrimage to Amarnath is a one-month affair which begins on the Guru Purnima day (July middle) and ends on Shravan Poornima (mid August). But now the pilgrimage starts in June, a month in advance, and there is widespread criticism that it is this early start that is responsible for the early melting of the Shivalingam.
In 2007, it was found that the Shivling was tampered with by devotees who reached the cave shrine even before the commencement of the official journey. This year strict measures were taken to make sure that no devotee reached the shrine before the official journey. But still the Ice Shivalinga melted even before the original pilgrimage carrying the Chhari Mubarak begins on Guru Purnima day.
It is a miracle that the Shivling lasted this long because it is believed that nearly 450,000 devotees visited the Cave shrine in one month, starting from June 18. The holy ice Shiva Lingam stood at 12 feet in April 2008 and grew three more feet in May. And on June 18, when first prayers were offered and pilgrims started visiting, it was 15 feet high.
The heat generated by nearly half a million people is the main reason for the early melting of the Shivling. The only way to stop the early melting is to return to the original schedule of the Amarnath pilgrimage, which begins with the carrying of the holy mace of Lord Shiva known as Chhari Mubarak.