The ammonite stone, popularly known as Shaligram stone, is awaiting conservation.
The precious dark stones that are usually available in the Kaligandaki River – the confluence of Gulmi, Arghakhanchi and Parbat districts – are in the sorry state of affairs in lack of conservation efforts.
Frequent erosion of Kaligandaki River and a traditional belief that one should not go around the ammonite stone has limited conservation efforts, complained Keshab Raj Neupane, a local.
The black ammonite stone is considered the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There is a myth that ammonite stones do have gold mine in its inner part.
Hindu pilgrims from Nepal and India throng to the Kaligandaki area to observe the precious stone having religious value.
Bhuparaj Adhikari, Chief of Halyang municipality, Syangja, admitted his mistake that he has also not paid any attention to the conservation of ammonite stones. However, he has seen opportunity to develop the ammonite stone as religious value by making proper publicity of the black stone.
Likewise, Bed Bahadur Thapamagar, chair of Kaligandaki rural municipality, Gulmi, pledged to take appropriate decision for the conservation of ammonite stone and develop the area as a tourism hub. —