An Amarnath pilgrim from Haryana came to the fold of Islam at Sonamarg hill resort in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. He is said to have undergone this change of heart following his disenchantment from his previous faith caused by the melting of the Shiv Lingam at the Amarnath cave shrine.
The melting of the Shiv Lingam for the past few years at the Amarnath cave shrine has been an agonizing event for most of the devotees, who make the arduous trek to the shrine. The ice lingam at the Amarnath caves used to remain frozen for months in the previous years but extreme changes in climatic conditions have made it impossible for the phenomenon to continue.
Parveen Sharma arrived at Baltal base camp enroute to Amarnath, 100 kms from Srinagar, and straightway drove to nearby Sonamarg hill resort where he expressed his desire to embrace Islam at the local Jama Masjid during Friday prayers, reports said citing official sources.
They said he was administered kalimah by the local imam who also gave him the Muslim name Sheikh Iqbal. Later, he was taken around in the main market in a procession and garlanded. This is for the first time that any Hindu devotee, who had come to pay obeisance at the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, has embraced Islam.