Last year the ice-lingam melted before the start of the yatra, after un-registered pilgrims entered the shrine and allegedly tampered with it. However, the authorities this time have taken adequate measures to prevent any pilgrim from visiting the holy shrine before the two-month -long annual yatra starting from June 18. Nazir Ahmed, camping with a team of workers at the Holy Cave to ensure watch and ward, said the Shivlingam has been showing signs of growth for the past few days with temperatures dipping to almost sub-zero during the nights. ''At least its (Shivlingam) size and girth has not decreased since March 25 when we took the first pictures of the Cave Shrine'', says a Gujjar member of the team, who trekked the arduous terrain over glaciers in March to reach the Shrine.
This year the ice lingams of Ma Parvati and Shri Ganesh have also formed fully.
''No pilgrim has visited the Cave Shrine ever since we took over the watch and ward here'', Mohammed Azam said, adding the 53 foot wide and 7 foot tall second rung of grill fencing has made it impossible for anyone to go near the sanctum sanctorum.
He said even the security forces deployed in the cave periphery are being kept at bay.
''We have not allowed anybody to go beyond the first of the three fencings'', he said.
Last year a number of television channels telecast security forces and other pilgrims touching the ice-lingam before the official start of the yatra.