5 pilgrims injured as glacier collapses in Himachal

Kullu: Five pilgrims were critically injured when a portion of a glacier collapsed and hit them while they were on the Shrikhand Mahadev yatra, a rock Shiva lingam, in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district, police said on Wednesday.

The landslide owing to heavy rains has blocked routes, forcing authorities to temporarily halt the pilgrimage that began on July 15. Rescue operation was started soon after the glacier broke off, they said, adding about 50 other stranded pilgrims were rescued from the glacier point and brought towards Bhim Dwar.

The five injured pilgrims have been identified as Rajiv from Ludhiana, Vivek from Pune, Baba from Maharashtra, Subhash Patel from Pune (Maharashtra) and Divyangni Vyas from Ahmedabad, they added.

They have been administered first aid.

About 15,000 pilgrims are expected to pay obeisance to Shrikhand Mahadev this year during the 10-day yatra.

Movement of pilgrims towards the shrine has been temporarily stopped due to collapse of the glacier at Nain Sarovar and landslides at various points due to rains, they added.

Shrikhand Mahadev is revered by Hindus as one of the abodes of Lord Shiva.

The Shivalingam is situated at a height of 18,750 feet above sea level in the lap of the Himalayas. The pilgrims negotiate rugged, cold and inhospitable terrain, which takes at least three days and conclude their journey at the Shrikhand Mahadev peak where they pay obeisance to the 72-foot tall Shiva lingam.

A base camp for registering pilgrims has been set up at Sinhgad.

Devotees believe that Lord Shiva meditated in Shrikhand and the Pandavas too had trekked to the peak during their 12-year exile.