Lone symbol of faith intact, rest all in ruins

Lone symbol of faith intact, rest all in ruins

Lone symbol of faith intact, rest all in ruins

As flood waters surged in with full fury and big car-sized boulders crushed everything that came in its way on the ill-fated night of June 15 in the revered temple town of Kedarnath, the only thing that withstood the impact was the Lord’s Nandi outside the temple, the Shiv ling and the temple structure.

Everything else—buildings, shops, banks, hotels— adjoining the temple lies in a state of utter ruin today.

In the last nine days after the devastation, the 1,200-year-old Kedarnath temple has seen not one devotee. It lies nearly deserted. Under the 10-foot debris outside the temple, there could be hundreds, or even more, bodies of pilgrims—women, children and old—who may have desperately made one last ditch effort to escape approaching death. The Nandi, considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva, sits unscathed amid ruins and hundreds of bodies that were strewn all over. For now, the Kedarnath pilgrimage will not take place, at least for the next one year or more.

What followed the terrible devastation in Kedarnath was greed. The whopping temple treasure, including gold ornaments and cash, have all been looted as the temple lay abandoned all these days. Donation boxes were broken and everything inside cleaned up, sources said. Huge amounts of currency in an adjoining branch of a nationalised bank in the town, that was reduced to rubble in the deluge, too had been stolen. Sources said, one person clad in a robe of a Sadhu was nabbed with Rs 87 lakh bank money. Two others have been caught with Rs 83 lakh in cash and muddied gold ornaments.

The sources said some people in the town have been refusing evacuation, perhaps, for some or the other ulterior motive.   The revered Kedarnath shrine at a height of 3,583 metres above sea level hasn’t seen prayers in the last nine days. The only thing the temple will now be a witness to are the mass cremations of hundreds of the Lord’s devotees. The mass funerals will take place either on Tuesday evening or on Wednesday. Two choppers of the Indian Air Force were all stuffed with wood and ready for take off to Kedarnath. Interestingly, a few massive boulders that were racing towards the rear of the temple along with water slush and uprooted trees, lost momentum short of impacting the temple boundary.

An impact, which did not happen, perhaps saved the temple. It were these big boulders that in fact diverted much of the debris that was heading to hit the temple.

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