In the heart of Solang Valley, lies this majestic formation of ice that appears out of the thin air every year. Anjani Mahadev is popularly called as the Amarnath of Kullu and rightly so because of the sheer beauty and scale of this ice formation. The shivling sometimes goes as high as 20 feet from the ground level.
The winters of 2015
are were short-lived because of a defiant Al Nino and that lead to this snow trek being reduced to a mere snow walk. Usually, the trek to Anjani Mahadev starts from Solang Ground but this year the snow was available in scarcity. Even that couldn’t lessen the joy of walking under the shadow of Dhauladhars.
The waterfall above the shivling freezes as the temperature dips. The ice formation starts taking shape in December.
A nomadic wanderer, baba Prakash Puri, came to this place in 1995 and settled here temporarily. He built a small temple and an ashram in the cave adjacent to the shivling.
It is believed that Anjani Devi, the Mother of Lord Hanuman meditated here. Incidentally, the crown of Dhauladhar Himalaya, Mt. Hanuman Tibba guards the entire Solang Valley, as if a son is taking care of her mother.
In an otherwise snow laden valley, there were visible green slopes all around. A dirt road has been constructed right up to the temple and there were diesel vehicles all around shoving snow enthusiasts into the sensitive belly of the Solang Valley.
The honorable NGT be damned!
The gully leading to the shivling was draped in glassy white and there were local religious groups
struggling carving their way up the narrow passage. There were little kids walking on their own on glassy ice slope without shoes. Woolen socks worn on their hands and feet were their only shoes. And what artistic climbers they all were? You have to see them to believe it.
Our entourage comprised of Dr. Kamal Preet and my good friend Aayush from Kullu. While KP treaded cautiously, the alleged experts had to bite some hard ice.
Aayush had a nasty fall on the frozen mass and luckily it didn’t do any damage. His fall reminded him of his previous journeys when he would walk all the way from Manali to Solang Valley treading smoothly on soft January snow. Aayush who has explored the farthest corners of this valley shares his concerns about the delayed winter patterns that have set in the valley of late.
He believes that 2015 is the worst winter that the valley has seen in the 21st Century. Solang Ski slopes that used to be snow laden are naked and even the shivling has not formed properly. There appears to be a temporary climatic shift, winters are prolonged and the summers too last as late as October – November. If we look back, 2012 and 2013 winters were not only prolonged but erratic as well. But the winters of 2015 have terribly gone awry.
The Bhrigu slopes across the valley were dvoid of soft powder and they semed to be yearning for white silver. The photographs shared below will give you an idea about how things have changed in the Solang Valley.