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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Kedarnath devastated, uncertainty looms over Nanda Devi Raj Jat

Anupam Trivedi , Hindustan Times  Dehradun, June 20, 2013
First Published: 00:53 IST(20/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:17 IST(20/6/2013)

Till Friday, Kedarnath in the lap of Himalayas was abuzz with pilgrims. Post Saturday-Sunday rains, the 1,200-year-old shrine stood, but the teeming surroundings —people, parts of the temple premises, myriad shops and houses—lay flat in a ghostly repose.

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“It will take around one year and R1,000 crore to rebuild Kedarnath,” said Ganesh Godiyal, chairman of the Badri-Kedar Temple Committee, which manages the Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines.

Rebuilding of Kedarnath should entail scientific planning, Godiyal stressed.

Kedarnath is the main pilgrim spot of the Char Dham Yatra – others being Badrinath, Yamnotri and Badrinath -- that opens for six months every year in the Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand.

Lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of the country visit the Char Dhams. Although cut off by road, the other three shrines have escaped damage from the weekend rains.

“Rest of the three shrines are safe and there would be no problem in resuming the Char Dham Yatra once the roads are reconstructed,” Godiyal told HT over phone.

Reconstructing roads, however, will be a challenge, as monsoon has already set in.

Meanwhile, clouds of uncertainty loomed large over the forthcoming Nanda Raj Jat that is undertaken every 12 years and is due this August.

Thousands of devotees were expected to participate in the yatra that crisscrosses through Garhwal hills, parts of which have been badly affected by the rains.

“As of now we cannot say anything on the yatra since incessant rains have washed off road network at many places,” said Umakant Panwar, secretary (tourism) on Wednesday.


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