Hyderabad: It is going to be a visual treat for pilgrims attending the annual Amarnath Yatra this year, as the forecast of the Indian Meteorology Department in Kashmir has indicated that a huge naturally formed ice lingam, possibly the highest in the last two decades, is expected to be formed.

This is since the valley is registering heavy snowfall this time compared to previous years. “People are of the view that size of the lingam is decreasing every year due to several reasons. But, this time, the size will be close to 20 feet, while it was 10 feet last year,” said MA Shah, Director, Kashmir Tourism.

Addressing a press conference to promote Jammu and Kashmir tourism in Telangana here on Friday, he said the shrinking size of the Shiva lingam had left many devotees disappointed and that it used to start melting fast.

“But this year, things could be different and this is the best time for devotees to take the blessing of the Lord in the Amarnath caves. The yatra will commence on June 29 and the total duration of the yatra is 40 days,” he said, adding that last year, the lingam began melting 13 days after the yatra commenced.

The government was making all arrangements for a hassle-free darshan during the annual yatra, Shah said, adding that the footfall of tourists from both the Telugu speaking States was high. Stating that Kashmir would always be the safest place to visit in India, he said and added that the tension on the border did not mean that the entire State was not safe.

“There are only few places which are affected due to conflicts on the border. Kashmir is still paradise on earth,” he said.