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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

ASI to assess Kedarnath damage, row over puja on

Nivedita Khandekar and Radhika Nagrath , Hindustan Times  New Delhi/ Haridwar, June 28, 2013
First Published: 23:28 IST(28/6/2013) | Last Updated: 23:59 IST(28/6/2013)

A five-member team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be visiting the Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand on Sunday to assess the extent of damage caused by the floods last week.

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The temple is believed to have been in existence for more than 1000 years and its current structure was built about 500 years ago. Though it is not an ASI-protected site, this initiative follows the Uttarakhand government’s request to the ministry of culture to rope in the ASI’s expertise.

“The team would prepare the estimate of work that would be necessary for restoration. Prima facie, there is no major damage to the main structure,” said Pravin Srivastava, director general ASI.

Even as experts and the state government take measures about the structural damage to Kedarnath, the priests are worried about the idol. Every year, the idol shifts from Kedarnath in the winters to Omkareshwar temple at Ukhimath, 61km away and is back again in May.

But after the June 16 rains, the idol was moved to Ukhimath. And the chief Rawal or priest of the temple, Bhimashankar Ling Shivacharya decided to conduct the puja at Ukhimath to maintain the continuity as demanded by tradition.

However, this decision has not gone down well spiritual leaders. Shankaracharya Swaroopananda Saraswati, Hardwar, says the Kedarnath idol’s puja can’t happen at Ukhimath before November.


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