Hours before the flash floods hit upper reaches of Uttarakhand, the Dhari Devi temple was shifted from its historical location to an elevated position, triggering a belief among locals that the move had resulted in the God’s fury.
Dhari Devi in Srinagar is associated with Kedarnath as it was one of the stops for Shankracharya on his way to Kedarnath temple. Dhara Devi, a manifestation of Goddess Kali, is also considered as guardian deity of Uttarakhand and is revered as protector of char dhams --- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamnotri.
Locals claim that only the upper half of an idol of goddess Kali is called “Dhari Devi’ while her torso is worshipped as a ‘Shree Yantra’ at Kalimath Temple near Guptkashi. As per local lore, Dhari Devi changes in appearance during the day from a girl, to a woman, and then to an old lady. Only a visit to both the temples makes the darshan of the Goddess complete
The Dhari Devi idol was shifted to a higher location to prevent its submergence from the 300 MW hydel power project being built by Alaknanda Hydel Project Company, a subsidiary if GVK group on Alaknanda river on June 16 morning. As adequate equipment was not available, the idol on a small hill was cut from its base.
The locals had been protesting the temple relocation for years saying they will have to face Devi’s wrath but the state government was adamant to shift the deity as without that commissioning of the project would not had been possible.
With flash floods hitting the upper reaches of Uttarakhand on June 16, the locals believe that the tragedy was the Goddess’ ire for being shifted. GVK, however, said that the relocation was decided much earlier and was not done in a hurry.