The Hemkunt Sahib gurdwara, which bore the brunt of the recent rain in Uttarakhand, may remain closed for the rest of the year as the road link to the 17th-century Sikh shrine has been badly damaged.
"We have decided to close the gurdwara for the time being and asked the staff of the Shri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust (SHSMT) to come down at Gurdwara Govind Dham, located lower at a height of 10,500 ft above sea level," SHSMT vice-chairman Narinder Jit Singh Bindra said, adding that it would be next to impossible to resume the pilgrimage this year. The Hemkunt Sahib gurdwara is situated at a height of more than 15,000 ft above sea level,
The sealing of the gurdwara with electric welding is underway, Bindra said. The process undertaken to keep all food stock intact is likely to be completed in a couple of days, he added.
"We have instructed all 70-odd staff members to reach Gurdwara Govind Dham," he added.
All staff members of the SHSMT, along with 130 other employees from Gurdwara Govind Dham, would be airlifted to the plains when the choppers will resume sorties in two days, Bindra said.
He said the trust would ask the Uttarakhand government to allocate some more place in Gurdwara Govind Ghat for langar, a store and parking as the entire place was inundated by the Alaknanda river on June 16.