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Shaligrams, worshiped by Hindus and Buddhists for over 2,000 years, are becoming rarer because of climate change.

About Shaligrams


  • For more than 2,000 years, Hinduism, Buddhism and the shamanic Himalayan religion of Bon have venerated Shaligrams.
  • These are ancient fossils of ammonites, a class of extinct sea creatures related to modern squids.
  • Originating from a single remote region in northern Nepal in the Kali Gandaki River Valley of Mustang.
  • These stones are viewed primarily as manifestations of the Hindu god Vishnu.
  • Because they are not human-made, but created by the landscape, they are believed to have an intrinsic consciousness of their own.
  • As a result, Shaligrams are kept in homes and in temples, where they are treated as both living gods and active community members.


Impacts of Climate Change

  • Climate change, faster glacial melting, and gravel mining in the Kali Gandaki are changing the course of the river, which means fewer Shaligrams are appearing each year.
  • This is mainly because the Kali Gandaki is fed by meltwater from the Southern Tibetan Plateau.
  • But with the glacier disappearing, the river is becoming smaller and shifting away from the fossil beds that contain the ammonites needed to become Shaligrams.


Q1) What is a river valley?

A river valley is a geographical landform created by the erosion and deposition of water over time. It refers to the low-lying area that surrounds and is shaped by a river. River valleys are diverse and can vary greatly in size, shape, and characteristics based on factors such as the type of rock, climate, and the river's flow dynamics

Source: Shaligrams, worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists for over 2,000 years, are becoming rarer because of climate change