Sacred Shaligrama Falling to Climate Change

The Himalayas itself is a wonder since the highest mountain range of the world came out from the deep Tethys Ocean millions of years ago following the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate. The still growing mountain ranges have many wonders starting from lifesaving plants to scent emanating animals and gods in stone. We have carried some such wonders and few of which we are reproducing here.

Sacred Shaligrama Falling to Climate Change

By Our Special Correspondent

It is believed that God is formless. But his manifestation in stone known as Shaligram is of different forms. For a common devotee Shaligrams are natural and rare stones black in colour and round in shape. But believe it or not that there are 55 types of Shaligrams all in stone, most of them in black but very few in golden, blue or ever white colour! Each Shaligram is different from the other and individually everyone has different identity and quality.

Basically, there are ten different shapes of Shaligrams depicting ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu starting from Matsya (fish) Avatar to Kalki which comes in cycles. But apart from these ten avatars, there are 55 other types of Shaligrams some of whom also represent Vishnu and his weapon (Chakra) and devoted carrier Garuda. All the three major deities of Hinduism Durga, Kali and Laxmi are in Shaligrams too. There is one Shiv Lingam Shaligram and two others represent sun and moon all with different shapes.

We all worship Shaligrams as gods in natural stone forms. But each Shaligram has different inherent powers and qualities. Worshiping some might give you wealth and some provide valour. Shaligrams can bring respect, somespirituality and some mental peace. There are Shaligrams to protect one from the evils and even few can cure
prolonged diseases. The list of the benefits is endless.

Most temples and places of worship in India besides other deities have Shaligrams as a living form of Lord Vishnu. These mostly round shaped sacred stones are there for ages and decorated with sandalwood paste by the seasoned priest during puja every day.

These holy Shaligrama, is essentially, a fossilized stone or ammonite (a class of extinct sea creatures related to modern squids) collected from the riverbed or banks of the Kali Gandaki River only in Nepal. The fossil ammonite stones which are millions of years old and were formed due to massive geological; the movement of Mega Rocks & Sea Water which created high pressure and formed not only the Himalayan Mountain Ranges but also compressed organic matter into ammonites’ fossils which we call Shaligrams.

Shaligram is worshipped in Hinduism, revered in Buddhism and Bon religion of Tibet too. But now availability of Shaligram is affected by change in flow of water in the river due to rapid glacier melting in the Himalayas as a result of climate change. The Kali Gandaki River, also known as the Narayani and the Gandak, is one

of the major rivers in Nepal and a left bank tributary of the Ganges in India which is the one and only source of Shaligrams in the whole world. These are not human-made, but created by nature over a long period hence believed to have an intrinsic consciousness of their own.

But Shaligrams are becoming rarer. Climate change, faster glacial melting, and gravel mining in the Kali Gandaki are changing the course of the river resulting in fewer Shaligrams 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. 

Source: Himalayan News Chronicle