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ASI finds cracks in Kedarnath temple

New Delhi, July 16, 2013, PTI: 1:03 IST

Restoration to be done in consulations with GSI

In this Thursday June 20, 2013, photo, a man takes pictures as bodies of pilgrims lying in from of the Kedarnath shrine, one of the holiest of Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva at Kedarnath. Huge cracks have developed in some places of the Kedarnath shrine according to preliminary assessment of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). AP Photo
Huge cracks have developed in some places of the Kedarnath shrine, which faced the fury of last month’s floods, although the sanctum sanctorum has escaped damage, according to preliminary assessment of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The ASI has been given the responsibility to restore the Kedarnath temple, which was damaged in the deluge and landslides last month. ASI’s Dehradun circle team visited the shrine on July 11 to get a first hand assessment of damage.

“Our three-member team visited the temple on July 11 and handed over the preliminary report to higher officials in Delhi. Reports suggest that there was not much visible damage to the ‘garbha griha,’ ” Atul Bhargava, the superintendent archaeologist of Dehradun circle, told sources.

“Maximum damage is to the eastern part of the ‘mandapa.’ The Ishaan temple is completely washed away in the flood. Several stones have been dislodged from the western gate and the exterior part of the sanctum sanctorum. But it is really difficult to assess the actual damage till the debris is removed. There is still two to six feet debris there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr B R Mani, assistant director general and the head of the ASI team for restoration work of Kedarnath, said that this is just a preliminary assessment of damage and the actual picture will be clear after the inspection by the experts team.

Mani was supposed to visit the shrine in the first week of July but could not go due to bad weather. Later, the team of Dehradun circle comprising R K Singh (assistant superintendent archaeologist), Manoj Joshi and Y S Nayal (draftman grade one) inspected the site.

“Till we don’t have the actual picture, it is premature to say anything about it. We have the preliminary report from Dehradun circle. We will seek the help of experts from organisations like Geological Survey of India to draft a strategy. I don’t think we need any foreign help in this regard as ASI experts are capable enough,” he said.

There was a proposal in 2004 to bring Kedarnath temple under the ASI by declaring it a protected monument but the temple committee did not give consent. When asked about the possibility of any initiative in future in this regard, Mani said it was not the focus right now.

“Our focus is to see the monument is conserved with the help of state government. The matter of initiative for making it a protected site will be considered later,” he said.

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