Pilgrimage to Hindu shrine stokes fears of 'ecological catastrophe' in Kashmir


Environmentalists are frightened that an annual pilgrimage to a Hindu shrine within the mountains of India-administered Kashmir might trigger an “ecological catastrophe.”
They’re calling for extra to be finished to deal with waste that is left behind by the hovering quantity of people that make the journey to the Amarnath Cave.

Hindus consider it to be God’s miracle.
1000’s of pilgrims are making their approach to Amarnath Cave Temple – zig-zagging their method via the mountains.
As water begins to freeze yearly within the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, an icy stalagmite – thought of to depict Lord Shiva’s phallic image – is created within the distant cave.
The pilgrims take one to 3 days to achieve the temple.
The gap is almost 145 kilometres from Kashmir’s capital Srinagar.
However the ecologically delicate space – residence to glaciers and rivers – is affected by air pollution due to the rising variety of folks passing via the realm.
If left unchecked, this harm could possibly be disastrous, warn some environmentalists.
The yatra – because it’s identified – has been going down for many years and the variety of folks visiting the cave till a number of years in the past was only a few thousand.
However, within the current years, that quantity has multiplied to a whole bunch of hundreds.
The pilgrim season normally lasts round 45 days between July and August.
That is when the Shiva Lingam (Shiva’s phallic image) varieties and the climate is perfect for travelling.
It is thought the summer time months of July and August introduced roughly 622,000 folks in 2012 and 350,000 in 2013.
When a mountain area corresponding to this instantly has to accommodate tens of hundreds of individuals, it upsets the delicate eco-system and threatens the glaciers and wildlife habitats.
Specialists concern that Kashmir could possibly be the following Uttarakhand-type catastrophe ready to occur.
In 2013, greater than 1,000 folks died attributable to flash floods in Uttarakhand, many have been on their approach to the Kedarnath Temple, one other common pilgrim centre.
For probably the most half, the floods and the large harm they prompted have been believed to have been because of the constant negligence and abuse of the mountainous terrain.
What occurred in Uttarakhand has now put the give attention to locations like Amarnath which face comparable threats because of the massive inflow of individuals.
“So we have now yatra (pilgrimage) for 44 days and we have now roughly round 10 to 15 thousand yatries (pilgrims) per day,” says Rakesh Kumar Gupta, CEO of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, an organisation that manages the temple.
“So should you assume that the entire day, entire interval is roofed by this quantity, then it is a very massive quantity, it is about 5 to 6 lakhs (unit of forex: 100,000).”
Near campsite areas, garbage is strewn by the edges of paths.
This rubbish, when left untreated, finds its method into the glaciers and rivers, polluting the in any other case clear landscapes.
Kashmir relies on the rivers Lidder and Sind which have their sources right here.
In accordance with Professor Shakeen Ahmad Ramshoo, when these rivers are polluted on the supply, it impacts the whole Kashmir valley.
He is an environmentalist and Head of division of Earth Sciences on the College of Kashmir.
“While you permit 30,000 folks to go for the yatra, for pilgrimage, and there is plenty of enormous era of the wastes, I imply it’s important to present amenities for them, there aren’t any amenities there, and there’s no stable waste disposal, scientific disposal of the stable wastes, there isn’t a scientific disposal of the liquid wastes that comes out of the eateries which were established there,” he says.
There are two routes to achieve the Amarnath Temple, positioned roughly 13,000 toes above sea stage.
One is the longer Pahalgam route which takes two nights and three days.
These encourage vacationers to deliver their waste again with them.

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