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